On Monday night I watched the NCAA men’s basketball championship. The game matched Texas Tech versus Virginia. Honestly, my boys and I did not care who won, but we enjoy sports especially championship events. They are the culmination of a whole season, and one team will walk away saying that they were the best.
Even though I did not care who won the game, I was encouraged as the game unfolded. Texas Tech was playing the role of the underdog, but Virginia has its own unique story. Last year Virginia became the first number one seed in a region to lose to a number sixteen seed in the first round. It was a humbling loss and could have destroyed most programs and coaches. While I am hesitant about sports figures when they talk about their beliefs, I was interested to hear that the coach of Virginia says that the defeat was brutal, and he only made it through because of his faith and his family. At least three times the announcers mentioned his faith in a positive way.
Last year’s first-round embarrassment did not cause the team to give up in any way. Instead, they decided to work harder and be better prepared this year. Once again, the team went into the tournament as a number one seed. It looked like history was going to repeat itself when they were down by more than ten points in the first half of their opening game. I am sure there was a feeling of doubt as they struggled in that first half of play. When all seemed lost, they pulled themselves together and went on a run that leads them to victory in the final game.
Lying there Monday night after watching the game I could not help but feel a little inspired. It takes hard work, courage, and strength or character to go from a tough loss last year to be this year’s champions. It takes perseverance to keep trying when the chips are down. I don’t know any of the players or coaches on the Virginia team, and yet I appreciate them.
There are seasons when some of us have felt overwhelming defeat, and I am reminded this week that it is possible to turn everything around. Hang onto your faith in those times of loss. Keep doing the right thing with all your might. No failure is permanent if you keep trusting God and working hard.