Last night the Mustangs won a state basketball championship! They’ve never done that before. It was an amazing run in the state tournament, and it was a decisive win.

But that’s not what happened for the boys earlier in the week.

The boys lost in Districts in what was literally a Sports Center moment a Sports Center moment. You have got to believe that the Warriors will remember that moment for the rest of their lives…and so will the Mustangs.

It’s one thing after an amazing quarter to have your hopes for state dashed. It’s an entirely different thing to have them dashed in the final second of the game and then watch it played over again on the national stage.

These are the moments we live for in sports, and this week the Stangs suffered a difficult loss and celebrated a win at the highest level for the first time in the school’s history. What a ride!

For one team, it will be the most exciting game of their lives. For the other team, I hope it is a moment that defines their character and their grace and their dignity in defeat.

Because we all suffer defeats…lots and lots of defeats.

One of the best things we can learn when we get knocked down is to get back up.

More important is to learn to get back up with dignity and to recognize that sometimes in our defeat lies another person’s victory. It’s not fun. Of course I wish the victory was ours. I wish our boys’ team was the one being celebrated on Sports Center, but we weren’t.

But we will be.

When we learn to fall down and rise again, when we learn to do it with class, we will be victorious.

I spent too many years watching my father root for the Cubs not to know that losing is hard.

But I also got to see them win a World Series.

There will be a time for us all to win, and in those times I hope we do it with grace and remember the sting on the other side of the court.

And there will be a time when we are the ones feeling the sting.

It was a wild ride this week, and I am proud of both those teams.

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