It was possibly the last game of my high school basketball career. We had been having a phenomenal season and were ready to take the state tournament by storm.
The game was played inside Williams Arena, and our first round opponent was Plainview-Elgin-Millville.
We didn’t play our best in the first half, but we were still in the game.
Even at halftime I didn’t think it was going to be my last basketball game ever.
The whole squad knew that we could come back and win the first round game of the 2012 state tournament.
But as the second half clock continued to move closer to zeros across the scoreboard, it hit me:
This would be the end.
The buzzer went off, half of the gym was cheering and half of the team was in disbelief.
One of the most successful seasons St. Peter men’s basketball team ever had finished with a short stint at the state tournament.
Losing the game hurt but what was tougher was dealing with the outcome of the game the next days.
After packing up my worn out basketball shoes and folding up sweaty uniform, I walked onto the bus with my hood up and head down.
I had broken the No. 1 rule my father had taught me: no matter how bad it gets, keep your head up.
But I couldn’t.
I woke up the next morning, and that’s where losers become winners.
All great moments come to an end. It’s how you wake up that very next day that defines you. If you wake up and slug around, no one will feel sorry for you, and you’re going to fall behind everyone else. That’s why you must wake up, look in the mirror and get back into the real world.
Yeah, I lost the game, but I wasn’t going to let this affect the rest of my life. I turned a disappointing game into a learning experience.
You have to be mentally tough.
Non-student-athletes have it hard, and student-athletes have it hard, but student-athletes have to put up with hard loses more.
Luckily for North Dakota State athletes, losing in the postseason doesn’t happen very often, especially for the NDSU football team.
But at some point in the future another FCS team is going to break NDSU’s championship streak. And the city of Fargo is going to go incognito. That’s what is expected to happen in the sports world but its how a team or student athlete deals with a heartbreaking lose that makes them great or not.
Losing sucks, but if you can master handling a loss, you will become great.