By DAVID VANTRESS
THE GOSHEN NEWS
“It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.”
— Theodore Roosevelt
The hallowed gymnasiums of our area have fallen silent this week.
With losses by all three area teams in various sectional championship games Saturday night — Northridge falling to Warsaw in the Class 4A finals at North Side Gym in Elkhart; NorthWood losing to Tippecanoe Valley in the Class 3A finals at Wawasee; and Westview dropping the Class 2A final to LaVille on its home floor — the curtain has come down on another basketball season here in the Goshen News’ coverage area.
The end of the season is always bittersweet for a team — especially when it comes before you were ready for it to.
But sectional time here in Indiana always brings an upset or two.
Concord, for example, came into the postseason with momentum, just one loss on the season, and prospects for a long run in the state tournament.
Northridge, on the other hand, had an up-and-down season under first-year coach Ronnie Thomas. The Raiders entered the Class 4A sectional tournament with a losing overall record at 9-11.
And it was the Raiders who ended up playing for the chance to cut down the nets in Elkhart.
As much as sportswriters like myself like to get caught up in the numbers crunch, who is scoring the most points, who is grabbing the most rebounds, who is doing all the little things — basketball games are not won or lost in the pages of a newspaper sports section, or in heated discussions on talk radio or on the Internet.
Games are won and lost on the court — and at this time of the season, it just takes one subpar game to end your season and send you home to think about what might have been.
But at the end of the day, sports is not about cutting down nets, or trophies, or glory.
It’s about learning life lessons that endure long after the cheering stops.
And one of those is the simple, sometimes sad truth that sometimes, you give your all, spill your bucket on the court, don’t have one ounce of energy left at the end of the game — and it isn’t quite good enough.
For our area teams who perhaps didn’t see their hoop dreams come to fruition this season — Theodore Roosevelt’s timeless words should offer a bit of solace.
Every athlete in our area who dared to enter the arena this winter — whichever arena that may have been — can be proud of the fact they put forth an effort.
Their place, to quote the eloquent former president, is NOT with “those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”
Contact sports editor David Vantress at 533-2151, ext. 325 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.