The team that I took to the State Tournament last year got a terrible draw for their Regional game this year. After going undefeated in league and placing in Districts they are one of the top teams in the state, and for their Regional (looser out) game, they drew last years State Champion, which is still ranked number one. This means that after this regional matchup, one of the best teams in the state will not be at the State Tournament.
Going to the State Tournament is a big thing. It is an experience of a lifetime. An opportunity for teams who have worked hard all season, (and during the off-season) to play competitive high level games and spend a final weekend together as a team. (Not to mention have a few bragging rights.)
Last season we drew this very same team going into the state tournament, which meant, if we didn’t get that first round win, there was a good chance we would place behind other teams who we’d beaten during the season. This is exactly what happened. We placed 6th in State, a great accomplishment of course, however two teams (who we’d beaten every time we’d played them during the season) placed above us. I was proud of the girls and thankful that they could compete at the State Tournament. Still, it had been a bad draw.
This, as we all know, is life. Life is not always fair.
Do I think there should be a better way to match teams up in the future? For sure. Does that help the situation today? No. That’s one great thing about playing sports, you learn life lessons. Both good and bad. You learn how to go on and do your best no matter the circumstances. To fight, with everything part of your being, for the win.
What would I say to this year’s team? What did I say to last year’s team? To forget about the draw, forget about what everyone else is saying, just go out and play. Give it your all, leave it all on the court, and may the best team (at that moment) win.
Believe in your heart that it can, and will, be you.
Both teams should be proud of what they have accomplished this season. But, both are competitors so one will leave the game heartbroken. However, when their tears have faded, I hope that they will remember the important part of the whole experience, which is learning what it means to be part of a team and how to work your ass off toward a dream that you believe in.
Either team is capable of winning. This is what makes sports so exciting. So it will come down to which team believes they can do it and which team is more focused on that day. It will depend on their communication, execution and teamwork. Last, it will depend on hard work and (though I hate to say it), a little bit of luck. But as the old saying goes, “I’m a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it.”
So, remember to work hard, so that on the court, and in life, all of your hard work will bring you the best of luck!