Summer 2024

The Agony of Defeat

The Men’s NCAA Final Four is set. Gonzaga, South Carolina, North Carolina and Oregon will compete for College Basketball’s most coveted prize next weekend in Glendale, Arizona.

Winning is often the ultimate goal in sports. Winning means prestige. Winning means accolades. Winning means accomplishment. Winning means being the best.

But often, character isn’t revealed in how we handle the successes in life, but in how we respond to adversity. How we handle the losses and the defeats that come to each of us at some point during our lives. On Sunday, we saw that manifest in the lives of a couple of Kentucky Wildcats players.

North Carolina beat Kentucky 78-76 yesterday to advance to the Final Four in one of the most exciting finishes in the entire tournament. Two storied franchises with so much rich history battled for 40 minutes in a game for the ages. With 0.3 seconds left, unheralded Luke Maye hit a jumper to send UNC to their second straight Final Four.

De’Aaron Fox sat after the game, emotional, trying to maintain his composure in talking to the media. As Fox began to talk about how tough it was to lose to North Carolina, his teammate, Edrice Adebayo, came to his side to hug him and both became very emotional. “I love my brothers man … It’s going to be difficult to get over, but I know I got to.”

Losing is never easy. It hurts. Just like life sometimes. But seeing the relationships, the love, and the emotion of Fox and Adebayo coming together was inspiring and showed how tight knit, John Calipari’s squad was.

Proverbs 17:17 says “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.”

You fight for your brother and you be there for him, win or lose. That’s what De’Aaron Fox and Edrice Adebayo did on Sunday.