The past year of sports has been very entertaining, while teaching a few lessons along the way. The usual culprits continued to dominate, as Duke basketball won a National Championship, the Patriots won a super bowl, and Alabama football made the College Football Playoff.
Emerging powerhouses built on their success, with the Warriors winning the NBA Finals and the Royals winning the World Series. Floyd Mayweather defeated Manny Pacquiao, and the US Women’s National Team won the world cup.
Like always, there were blowouts, upsets, and heartbreaking losses.
It seemed like the Seahawks had the Super Bowl in the bag, being in the redzone with just seconds remaining, a few yards away from their second straight super bowl win. However, a controversial play call resulted in an interception by Malcolm Butler, and the Patriots stole the game.
I had the privilege of being present at the Michigan vs Michigan State football game. It seemed like the Wolverines had the game in the bag, all they had to do was catch a snap and punt the ball. What could go wrong?
A low snap, fumbled by the nervous punter. He tries to pick it up and get rid of it, despite being surrounded by Spartans. Jalen Watts-Jackson grabs the ball and runs all the way to the endzone as time expires.
I also had the privilege of being at Game 6 of the World Series. The Mets seemed to be unstoppable in the National League playoffs. In Game 1 of the world series, the Mets blew a lead in the 9th inning, and ended up losing in extra innings.
The trend continued, as the Mets gave up late game leads throughout the whole series. The worst was Game 6, when the Mets had their backs against the wall. Matt Harvey had pitched a gem, and received a huge ovation as he sprinted out to finish the 9th inning.
In that moment, being a part of that electric crowd, I felt like this could be the turning point of the series. However, I was soon drained of my hope and optimism. Harvey blew the lead in the 9th, and the Mets lost the series in extra innings.
There’s nothing worse than the feeling after a heartbreaking loss. I sat in the stadium, the silent Mets fans painfully listening to the small band of Royals fans celebrate their win. The silent Michigan fans astounded as Michigan State celebrated in the endzone.
These two experiences caused me to think long and hard in the quiet car ride home, as well as the days afterwards.
It’s just a game. After a heartbreaking loss, the only way to move forward is to forget about it. In most sports, it’s extremely difficult to succeed without having a short memory. In addition, this concept can be applied to everyday life.
If we continue to dwell on the past, it will be so much harder to improve in the future. It’s not about the loss itself. It’s how you respond from that. 2016 can be that more successful if we learn from our mistakes and keep the past in the past.