Making the Most of the Time We Have Left

A Lesson from the Madness

It’s that time of year again, and in honor of March Madness, here’s a lesson about life taught from the basketball court.

When all seems lost…

Debbie and I enjoy basketball. For us, the madness began early this year, in February. We went to Nashville and watched Indiana State play Belmont. At halftime, we were wondering if we’d made a mistake. Indiana State was crushing the home team, with a seventeen-point lead.

Neither of us saw any chance of Belmont winning. Indiana State players had sliced to the basket for layups at will. The visitors were quicker, more agile, and hungrier. Unstoppable.

The hometown team showed more fight as the second half began. They ditched their hapless man-to-man defense in favor of a zone, and the visitors’ offense stalled. Belmont narrowed the lead to single digits and tied the game a few minutes later. But they fell behind again. When their star picked up his fourth foul with six minutes to go, I said, “That’s it. Not a chance. They can’t do it.”

A few minutes later, with the deficit at nine points, the scratching and clawing began in earnest. Utter madness! Players flew all over the court to steal the ball and pick up the pace.

The lead narrowed to six, five, then three with a minute left. Then one, but Indiana State had the ball.

A missed free throw opened the door, but Indiana State’s defense smothered Belmont in the waning seconds. A mad scramble ensued, and Indiana State committed a foul with 2.5 seconds remaining. Belmont’s star, still with four fouls, sank both ends of a one-and-one free throw opportunity, and the crowd went wild. Belmont’s first lead since the opening minutes of the game held when the buzzer sounded.

…it may not be lost

When the clock has yet to expire, there’s still time to overcome. It may take adjustments, such as a renewed attitude, a different strategy, and a sense of urgency. But no matter how dire the situation and improbable the desired outcome, the game isn’t over – nor the quest, the hope, and the chance of victory extinguished – until the final horn sounds and the madness ceases.

2 thoughts on “Making the Most of the Time We Have Left”

  1. Anne and I have been watching the UConn tournament games after a very successful season. The women are awesome as are the men. But the men are tooooo stressful!

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