Students packed Hinkle Fieldhouse to watch the game on giant projector screens. The clock ran down. Gordon Hayward put up the shot.
The shot that would be the subject of analysis and ESPN b-roll footage for some time.
And the ball clangs out. The Butler University Bulldogs were defeated by Duke University in the 2010 NCAA Basketball Championship.
Flash-forward one year, and the heartbreak doesn’t ease. Poor shooting against the University of Connecticut Huskies leads to another championship letdown. It hurt.
Today, a Bulldog squad with only one senior that played in both championship games continues the battle. We’ve seen great games this season. We’ve seen ugly games.
I’ve seen so many different attitudes, all from my couch on the north side of Indy. Hope is mine. Others are agitated over rough losses.
How people cope with defeat and success is fascinating. The world of sports seems so black and white. Your team wins, or it loses.
But at the end of the day, there are always shades of grey. As basketball season goes on, a win over one team isn’t as impressive or vice versa.
That concept holds true in other aspects of life. At the end of the season (life), it’s the overall record – not individual games that counts. Some will remember certain games (milestones or events) more than others, whether they were successes or failures, and there’s nothing an individual can do about that.
Looking back on Butler’s championship tournament runs, they compose two small moments in a bigger chain of events for me – my time at Butler.
That first run was special. Everyone on campus was happy. The second run was amazing in that everyone on campus could say “Oh, we’ve done this before.”
As such, Butler Basketball is an aspect of my “overall record” at Butler. It helped my career and time at school seem extraordinary.
Even though my team lost, I still look back at the games as something I bore witness to and have the special privilege of saying that I was there when it happened.
Was every part of my “overall record” at Butler amazing? Absolutely not, but the fact is I can look back, take the good with the bad and be stronger for it. The best part is if I can take the right attitude, it is applicable to everything going forward.
Applying that idea to work and life is a goal worth aiming for, and one that I’m admittedly distracted from when I’m watching Butler Basketball from my couch and hollering.
Come visit me at my coffee hours at Hearthstone Coffee House & Pub from 3 to 5 p.m. on Tuesdays.