Life and Basketball


The following is a guest editorial by Angie Stanley, Jefferson County Post Sports. 

The 2018 – 2019 NCAA Basketball season is dangerously close to coming to an end. The final four in the men’s bracket is set, and the women’s final four will be determined this week. So many twists and turns this past week as the Sweet 16 turned in to the Elite 8, and now the Final Four has been set after a wild weekend. It makes me think about the wild season that began in November.

We’ve seen upsets, underdogs become number one, (Go Vols!) and legacies turned upside down. We’ve seen shoe-ins blow their chances, and injuries due to shoe blowouts. We’ve seen disappointment, glory, happiness, tears, and moments that made you proud to be a fan.

To say it has been interesting to be a Tennessee fan this season, would be a major understatement. On the men’s end of things, we’ve seen a group of pretty good players become an excellent team. The way Coach Rick Barnes has turned this program around is a major accomplishment, and should be celebrated. Admiral Scholfield grew in to an amazing leader over the last four years, and Grant Williams seems to be poised to slide right in to that leadership role. The Volunteers now are in conversations that involve the words like “awesome” and “championships” that most in my generation would only dream of being in just a few years ago.

The women’s program, on the other hand has been scrutinized over the last couple seasons with Holly Warlick at the helm, and her tenure came to a breaking point this season. A woman with a 38 year legacy with the University of Tennessee, was let go after loosing in the first round of the tourney. The decision came after the first losing season in the history of the Women’s program, and I do not believe it was taken lightly. This was another thing most in my generation would have never believed would have happened. Both basketball programs at the University of Tennessee have been completely turned upside down.

Maybe it’s my busted bracket, but it honestly makes me think about how close to life sports are to us, how many life lessons can be taken away from something simple as a game.

  • You may be pretty good, but with the right people around you, and the right leadership, you can be a part of excellence.
  • No matter how much you plan, no matter how things have been going, someone can be just a little better, or more lucky will defeat you from time to time. That doesn’t mean you quit, you work harder for the next time you meet that opponent.
  • If you get in to your own head too often, or allow your opponent to camp out there, you become your own worse enemy, and will often defeat yourself before you even have to face them.
  • Legacy can only get you so far. Just because it’s worked before, it’s the way you’ve always done it, or it’s part of a proven program, doesn’t mean that it’s going to work again. Your legacy may be able to guide you there, but it’s your skill and willingness to bend and roll with the punches that will keep you there.
  • There is no such thing as a comfortable lead. You must keep pressing forward.
  • Heartbreak can either paralyze you or drive you to move, the decision is ultimately up to you.
  • The season will always end, and a new one is always right behind it. Win or lose, there’s always some kind of new beginning.

Even though the excitement of basketball season is coming to a close, there’s a new season that has already started: baseball. I’m sure the boys of summer will also have something to teach me.