No excuses, no whining — Coach Tony Bennett of the University of Virginia Cavaliers calmly and respectfully gave props to the UMBC (University of Maryland, Baltimore County) team and coach for taking care of business.
“We got thoroughly out-played,” Bennett said in the March 16 post-game interview about the Retrievers’ historic upset of the top-ranked Cavaliers.
UMBC won 74–54 and became the first No. 16 seed to beat a No. 1 seed in the NCAA men’s tournament.
Definitely the Cinderella story of this year’s March Madness, UMBC’s victory was the unlikely event that put the school on the map despite losing the next game in a nail-biter to Kansas State on March 18.
Thousands of us became Retrievers’ fans, even if just for a weekend, and cheered for the obvious strength of character, pursuit of excellence and never-give-up attitude brilliantly showcased by this history-making team.
Our hats are off to Coach Ryan Odom and the UMBC Retrievers.
And on the other side of the court, kudos goes to Bennett in the way he handled the historic loss in the first round of the tournament.
“It stings,” he said. “I told the guys, ‘This is life. It can’t define you. You enjoyed the good times and you gotta be able to take the bad times. When you step into the arena, the consequences can be historic losses, tough losses, great wins and you have to deal with it. That’s the job.’”
Bennett not only showed good sportsmanship but also a well-rounded perspective on life — and he modeled this for the young men on his team as well as a nation of basketball fans watching it all play out.
“It can’t define you,” he said.
How often do we allow one moment to define us — good or bad, win or lose — rather than the sum of all the moments, and how often do we do this to others?
Every day we all move through our routines, doing what we are called and trained to do, making decisions to the best of our abilities (at least I hope we are all giving our best). And at any moment one of those decisions, or even a routine task, could put us in a win or lose situation.
Some moments are minimal and cause few waves but others are monumental and change life for everyone involved.
How the leader leads when those times come sets the tone for all who are following, and how the team responds influences the level of dignity, perseverance and value each individual maintains on the other side of those moments.
But they are still separate slices among an entire lifetime of countless slices. If we define ourselves by that one great achievement, then that is likely all we will ever be. And if we mark ourselves as a failure because of that one historic loss or bad decision, then we certainly won’t have the strength to move past it.
We must take the good with the bad, the wins with the losses, and learn from each experience. And in all situations we can hold on to the promise from 2 Corinthians 12 that in our weakness, the power of Christ is made perfect.
We merely need to trust Him to work in and through us.
Rashional Extras – Take a break from the routine
By Sandy Wisdom-Martin
Executive Director, National WMU
Our seminary campus had signs posted that read, “Please walk on the grass but don’t make paths.” I can’t remember the specific Bible text he used, but the chaplain said we should pay attention to the grass signs and apply the principle to our lives.
He suggested we should trod on the vast open spaces and explore all ministry has to offer. We ought to try different experiences and undertake new fields of study. We should set out in our own direction led by God and not follow blindly down paths made by others.
Well-worn paths eventually lead to ruts. A friend of mine quotes another when she says, “We often mistake the edge of the rut for the horizon.”
Are you in a rut? Ask God to give you the strength to crawl out of the rut and the courage to walk where there is no path.
Consider these suggestions if you are spiritually stuck:
- Break out of your old routine.
- Join or start a new missions or ministry group at church.
- Realize God’s best for you lies just beyond your comfort zone.
- Reflect on your life. Does fear keep you trapped in a rut? Revisit 2 Timothy 1:7. God has not given us a spirit of fear.
- Stay committed and trust God. Continue to pray and study His Word. Ask God for direction and perseverance.
Editor’s Note — Excerpt from Sandy’s blog at www.wmu.com/?q=Sandy-blog.
I have great things in my life — my love for my wife, my love for my family, my love for coaching, my love for basketball. Those are wonderful things but when you line them up in comparison to Christ and the relationship you have with Him, with what He’s done for you and with what He’s given you, they don’t compare. That’s the greatest truth I know.
Coach Tony Bennett University of Virginia Cavaliers
Excerpt from March 15 Sportsspectrum.com article
The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule but to schedule your priorities.
Author Stephen Covey
The trouble with not having a goal is you can spend your life running up and down the field and never score.
Author Bill Copeland
My experience has taught me that smart people don’t change because it’s trendy. They rethink, change and move to the next level because something significant has happened or is realistically anticipated to happen in their life or their career.
When smart people finally realize it’s time, they … begin to look back to see how they got to where they are … test the assumptions and objectives that brought them to the pass they now face … analyze their current strengths and weaknesses … question the motives and actions behind the bridges they’ve built and the values they’ve established. [They] understand that before they make their next transition, voluntary or involuntary, they still have work to do.
Excerpt from Michael Alan Tate’s book “Design
A Life That Works”