“If heavy sighing was an Olympic sport, I’d have a gold medal today… losing during March Madness is tough.” – Dayo Lanier, M.D.
The Emotional Rollercoaster That is March Madness
March Madness often reminds me of an adventure park or carnival of sorts…
There are the energetic mascots—providing endless photo and high-five opportunities.
The coaching carousel—a dizzying “ride” that begins as soon as March Madness does, if not before. And it is fascinating (or terrifying) to watch, depending on where you’re standing.
Lastly, there’s the emotional rollercoaster—the excitement of making it to The Dance!
Watching nail-bitingly close games and buzzer-beating shots. Feeling the energy of the crowd, and the elation of surviving and advancing…
There’s also the uncertainty of Selection Sunday. The nervousness of playing on the big stage. And the devastation and heartbreak that comes with a season-ending loss.
As a coach’s wife and a basketball mom, my ride on the “emotional rollercoaster” of March was of the extended variety…
The first weekend in March: Both of my teens played in back-to-back State Championship Title Games—my daughter’s team won their game, but my son’s team lost theirs by two points.
Later that day, my husband’s team won a share of their regular season conference championship title.
The second weekend in March: My husband’s team made it to their conference tournament championship game but lost the title game by 5 points.
The third weekend in March: We made it to the Big Dance and won our first game in the NCAA tournament! That was followed by losing the second game by 1 point, and missing the chance to go to the Sweet 16 (this one still hurts)!
This rapid cycling between feeling happy and sad was a bit much, but it comes with the territory.
Disappointment Can Serve a Purpose
Jim McKay of ABC’s Wild World of Sports described it best, “the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.”
The end of the season is always painful, but that disappointment can serve a purpose… motivation for next season.
Once the intensity of the hurt subsides, the recognition of how much you’ve accomplished during the year becomes easier to appreciate. That recognition, coupled with the desire to get back to the championship game or the NCAA tournament, inspires you to work harder and to get even better.
March Madness—It’s hard to leave the floor when your dance is up, but it’s always a thrill to be invited.
Special March Madness shoutout to the Webb Lady Spartans, the Webb Spartans, the Tennessee Vols (all of the players, coaches, families & fans) and Associate Head Coach Rob Lanier (also known as Hubby 😉).
Also, Rob’s awesome website, Coach-Speak.net, our friends, Mavis & Alex Ball, for coming to hang out with us in Dallas (and Shawn & Aiden Ball for sharing them with us).
Lastly, a special thank you to Louis Fernandez at WBIR for providing the opportunity to share our story in this interview. It’s a bright moment after a tough ending to a wonderful weekend:
Enjoy your week!