March Madness. That time of year we all look forward to, when for a few fleeting weeks sporting America turns its attention to the purest expression of competition: the amateur kind. Young MEN come together under the leadership of other MEN of accomplishment not for money, not for fame, but for love of the game. If they find glory on the path, and cut down some nets, well, good for them. They will have earned it. And they will have earned it the right way.
But there’s an inherent quality to that word, earn, isn’t there? Glory won’t come easy. It won’t be handed out. And it won’t be won by the meek, whatever may await them in the afterlife. No. As with war, fortune will favor the bold. And above all, to be bold is to be resilient.
In the first round of the NCAA Tournament, on its first day, Tom Izzo’s No. 2 ranked Michigan State Spartans were losing to 15th Ranked Bradly Braves (wherever they hail from) at halftime. After his Spartans came out fighting in the second half and took the lead, Izzo, one of the most successful coaches of the last 25 years, still wasn’t satisfied. And he had ever right not to be. As coach himself said, freshman Aaron Henry “didn’t do a very good job” with a couple of things. So, Izzo let him know about it:
That, folks, is coaching. That is building resilience. That is That is, unless you are in the American Media. Then, you have just witnessed the actions of a tyrant.
Yes, Tom Izzo, the biggest 5’9″ man you will ever see, a man with a 603–231 overall coaching record, a National Championship in 2000, 7 final four appearances, 9 Big Ten Regular season titles, a man who has won the Big Ten Tournament 6 times, the AP College Coach of the Year once, a man who has nabbed the Henry Iba Award, who twice has been the NABC Coach of the Year, who can boast that he has won the Clair Bee Coach of the Year Award and the John R. Wooden Legends of Coaching Award and even the Big Ten Coach of the Year not once, not twice, but three times; even that man comes under fire in today’s world.
They say every generation believes the world is going to hell when they think about the future. Well if you want to stop believing it, and start living it, all you need to do is read a college basketball article. If the media elites were running this country, no kid would ever learn a lick about being the MEN they need to be. The planet is full of threats. The Russians are coming again, China ascends, Mexico refuses to pay for a wall, and here we are raising our kids to learn that mistakes are OK, feeling bad about them is not, and being yelled at is akin to torture. Well not on my watch. And thankfully, not on Tom’s either.
America, please stop becoming your own worst enemy.