Winning is fun. Winning when it is not expected of you might be even more fun. Most of us love a good comeback story and recently, we were treated to a couple of good stories from the world of sports.
Tim Hall is the Director of Athletics at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). He was also appointed President of the Division I-AAA Athletics Directors Association (ADA) in the summer of 2017 and has served as the chairman of the NCAA Committee on Women’s Athletics. During the 2018 NCAA Tournament, the UMBC Retrievers Men’s Basketball team made history when they became the first ever No. 16 seed to beat the No. 1 seed when they beat Virginia by 20 points, 74-54. Tim has previously served as the Athletic Director at the University of Missouri at Kansas City. Before heading up his own departments, he was the assistant A.D. at Eastern Kentucky University, Saint Xavier University, Youngstown State University, and Kent State University.
- The historic upset that the men’s basketball team had in the 2018 NCAA Tournament
- Social media creativity of UMBC athletic communication staff during the tournament
- Ways to build a mid-major athletic program
- Hiring and keeping good team members
- What makes UMBC so special
“If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.” (Milton Berle)
“In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” (Albert Einstein)
“March Madness” is my favorite holiday! My wife says that it isn’t really a holiday but then again she wants me to celebrate “Sweetest Day” 🙂
Regardless, this is a great three-week period that caps off the college basketball season. The tournament is a win-or-go-home event. It is a true reality show with plenty of intriguing story lines and drama. Plus, who doesn’t love filling out a bracket?!?
Of this year’s four #1 seeds, The University of Virginia was the tournament’s top overall team going into the tournament. They have a great coach and the team thoroughly dominated the regular season. This past Friday, they made history! Just not the kind they were anticipating.
UVA became the first-ever #1 seed to lose to a #16 seed. The University of Maryland-Baltimore County wasn’t even the best team in their conference but they got hot during their conference tournament and pulled off an upset to qualify for the NCAA’s. They were 22-point underdogs going into this game against Virginia. Instead of losing by 22, they won by 20! If you watched the game, you would have been impressed by the way they took advantage of every opportunity. They played to win – not to lose – even when they got up big and the game was winding down. They played with confidence and swagger.
Virginia might have been the better team overall, but this past Friday, someone out-performed them. There are many lessons that can be learned from this but the NCAA Tournament once again provides some madness in March. It provides a reminder that we need to be prepared for our opportunities. The Retrievers from UMBC believed in themselves and that is all that mattered. Abraham Lincoln used to say “I will prepare and perhaps one day my chance will come.”
What about us? We may be grinding day-in and day-out and the results might not be what we’d want. The odds might seem to be stacked against us. We might be 22-point underdogs to life. But, just like UMBC, we can believe in ourselves and keep preparing for the day that our opportunity comes. I am reminded of the Jacob Riis’ quote concerning rock sculptures…
Look at a stone cutter hammering away at his rock, perhaps a hundred times without as much as a crack showing in it. Yet at the hundred-and-first blow it will split in two, and I know it was not the last blow that did it, but all that had gone before.
Just like the stone cutter, you don’t always know when good things will come to you but you do know that if you quit, it will never come! Be encouraged today and know that even though life might sometimes seem like a tough #1 seeded opponent, the underdog still has a chance to win! Success is a choice. What choice will we make today?