My Badgers lost last night. It was in the National Championship game.
It was a bummer. So many people said “sorry” to me.
It hurt more than any other moment as a fan. Crushing.
But this is far from a tragedy. It’s almost entirely the opposite.
The NCAA Tournament is not the Super Bowl. Or the Stanley Cup. Or even the World Series.
The NCAA Tourney is different.
Getting there is a win. Advancing to the Sweet 16 is a big win. Being part of the Final Four is simply massive.
And in the NCAA Tourney, the kids aren’t paid. Winning is the only thing they’re playing for.
This entire season, my Badgers were glorious.
They were Big Ten champs. They were a #1 seed in the NCAA Tourney. And they did the impossible: They beat the previously unbeaten Kentucky; in a Final Four game, no less.
And throughout the whole ride, they were themselves. The harder they worked, the more fun they had.
We were all a part of it.
Sure, they didn’t win the final game.
But the season for them and all of Badger Nation victorious. It was, in the words of Sam Dekker, “All love.”