Dealing with Disappointment

The men’s basketball team had an incredible year! We finished 21-10 on the season and were ranked as high as 4th in the NCCAA national rankings. Everything seemed to be breaking in our favor…until it didn’t.  

We advanced to the North Region championship game and were playing against a team we had beaten by 29 in December. The winner of this game would advance to the NCCAA National Tournament.

The other team played well, and we did not play our best. That is how basketball works sometimes. All of that led to an 8-point loss, and heartbreak.  

It is completely acceptable to get emotional over things that matter to you, things you strive to accomplish. There were tears because we worked every day since October on a goal to be the best. 

Let-down is hard. That is how life goes sometimes. We have all experienced it in one way or another. It is how you react to disappointment that helps shape you. It teaches you things about yourself that only loss and failure can.    

With about 30 seconds left in the game, I realized the game had gotten away from us. I turned to the bench and reminded them that “You win well. You lose well. Handle it.”

Through all of the pain, hurt, and tears, we waited until the other team finished celebrating, and then we shook their hands and prayed with them. Seems like an easy thing to do, but it takes more willpower and integrity than you think. At that moment, my team did a great job handling defeat.   

As I sat and watched the other team celebrate, I held my 6-year-old as he sobbed into my shoulder. He was set on us winning so he could get a chance to cut down the nets (as he saw the winners of the women’s tournament do prior to our game). A couple of my guys stayed on the bench and watched; some cried, some stared blankly. Some endings are harder than others.  

Things do not always go our way. The “best team” does not always win…even in life. But what the guys learned through this season will hopefully impact them forever. Disappointment is not always a bad thing. Sometimes, it helps us refocus on what is most important…and reminds us never to take the good times for granted.  

We expect kids to deal with disappointment with maturity. Unfortunately, it is a learned trait. You must experience it to learn how you will handle it.   


Jordan Nowell
Athletic Director/Men’s Basketball Coach

March 31, 2021

Jordan Nowell

Athletic Director & Head Men's Basketball Coach
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