By DAVE SCHABELL
After being in this racket for thirty some odd years, you would think that I would become immune to the
disappointment, heartbreak, devastation and empty feeling you invariably experience the morning after
things don’t go as planned and you wake to face the fact that something you wanted very badly for your
coach, players and program (and selfishly – yourself) didn’t come to pass as expected.
Perhaps if you didn’t know the players personally, know the hours that the kids and coaches put in and the expectations and high standards that we set for ourselves, mornings after tough losses wouldn’t hurt so bad either. Perhaps a casual observer might say – “Get Over It – Its Just A Game” but to those of us who live the basketball life, the game is our life, and our life and our physical and mental wellbeing is drastically effected by wins, losses, over-achievements and under-achievements on the court.
In the case of the Paris game last night, we came into the game extremely confident of playing well and winning. Admittedly maybe too confident, but I think we had earned that right. We felt that we were simply the best team in the tournament and after beating St. Patrick, we would be able to outplay Paris with all of the marbles at stake.
We try to maintain a “Play Like Us” mentality with our teams. We try to teach them to establish their own identity, dictate the tempo that we want to play and make the opposition play like us. Last night we failed “Play Like Us” and fell deep into “Play Like Them” with catastrophic results. We held the Hounds to 47 points. That in itself should make us winners. Superstar Odell Cosby, who scored 41 the night before vs Augusta was held to 6 in the first half and 13 in the second half. Under the circumstances that is acceptable. Turnovers and tentative offensive play became the great neutralizer and when the
momentum shifted late in the game we had no answer on either end of the floor.
I often think that with the time, effort, and miles that we put in and our endeavors to make this a first-class program that we deserve better, but in this game, it’s definitely not about deserving – it’s about earning. If what appears on the surface is what takes place, Brossart and Corbin would be playing on Thursday at 1:30pm in Richmond. However, that is why you play the games and don’t just “phone them in”. Corbin went down to 2-11 Harlan who will play Paris at EKU in the “A” State.
I think it’s a good thing that our players hurt after tough losses, it shows they care. This loss will not sit well with them, and when they get back in the gym, I am convinced that we will see renewed commitment to work harder at practice, play with a stronger resolve and compete at a higher level. The potential presently exists for this team to be playing their best ball come tournament time. Very few
lament the fact that the 2000 team failed to win the All “A”, and if the truth be known, it is highly unlikely that we would have ever gone to Rupp, had we won the “A,” so believe in “blessings in disguise.” There are good teams out there who appear as insurmountable obstacles to our attaining our goals, but there were in 2000 too. A good draw, a good call and a good bounce of the ball, sometimes help to overcome those obstacles.
When the masses inquire – “What happened to you guys last night??” I guess the answer is to simply smile and reply – We lost a ballgame, and leave it at that.
January 27, 2002