The Losing Battle

I haven't watched a lick of March Madness.  But I have watched some highlight reels from years past.  It's gripping drama: upsets, buzzer beaters, pandemonium. 

A lot of attention is devoted to the euphoria of hitting the game-winner, of advancing, of winning it all.  But there's also the agony of defeat: having a chance to win it and missing the shot, committing a costly turnover at an inopportune time, realizing your season (and, for most players, their playing career) is over in an instant.  The hurt of losing is more crushing than the high of winning, if that makes sense.

March Madness is kind of like life.  Sixty-three of the 64 teams in the tournament will end the tournament with a loss.  More than half of all shots taken will not go into the rim.  The vast majority of graduating seniors will see their playing days come to an end as soon as their last game's buzzer hits zero.  It's a cruel thing, that there's so much failure and so final an end to the magic of being on a winning team. 

But that's life.  We can be seduced, in this country and by the media we consume, to think that everything is winning and that the good times last forever.  But losing is part of life, too, and so are endings.  Wise is the person who is able to understand this.  My heart goes out to all the players who will be given this lesson very painfully this month, and hopefully they take that life lesson to heart.
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