The thrill is unmistakable for the 64 teams who qualify for the “Dance” of March Madness.
No matter if the team is a perennial contender or on a maiden voyage, hope runs high and parallel to each player’s determination, hard work, and sacrifice. For each player, it began long ago – taking the basketball in their hands for the first time to dribble and shoot. They attempted to do something they’d not done before and then built one skill upon another. And that’s what we do throughout our lives – learn new skills and hone them.
I admire the resilience of each player as they shoot with 100% hope. Whether points are scored or not, their commitment never waivers. Their example underscores the no-whining-keep-trying strategy we all need to emulate. Being part of a team and family requires engaging and pledging to never give up.
I’m awed by the discipline required to be in this tournament. It’s not only the hours of practice and drills but the day-to-day conscious sacrifices each player makes traveling to compete and missing events at home or school. We do this, too, as we forgo things for entities larger than ourselves.
Coaches develop their players and lead them to trust in each other. During this March Madness tournament I watched a talented and fierce competitor suffer the disappointment of losing a game his team was predicted to win. He sobbed with the lost hope falling in tears down his cheeks, with his head on his coach’s shoulder, embraced by his arms. We share this humanity believing anything is possible and engaging fully to make it happen. And when it doesn’t, we have each other to lean on and the shared memories of our extraordinary journeys.
JoAnn Schauf is founder of Your Tween and You.