Sports help you learn to deal with success and adversity. There are so many studies that can prove that, but most of us have anecdotal evidence where our mental toughness has been challenged as adults, but we learned in our youth through athletics to persevere. In sports, you are forced to deal with both success and adversity, if you are lucky you are forced to deal with both. But what will you do when you face real adversity? Yes, sports are used for all types of analogies to real life, sometimes incorrectly, but if there is not carry over from what you learned through athletics, then what does it matter? It's like studying for a test. If you study, then do poorly on the test, what was it all for?
This year, Corydon Central H.S. boys' basketball team was dealt some major adversity. Their best player and Indiana State bound Bronson Kessinger was injured in a game just past halfway of the regular season. In that injury he ended up with a broken leg and wrist ending his high school career much too early. A career that has been followed by many basketball "experts" throughout the state and highlighted by many successes.
How the Corydon Central team came together from that point as one and how Kessinger enjoyed the successes of his teammates is truly touching. I help coach Silver Creek boys' basketball, so I wanted us to win, I wanted us to win enough that I would not just give up the sectional championship for a nice ending to a horrible start of a story, but if any other team could have won, I would have chosen them. I am sure that does not mean much to the people or the team from Corydon Central, but if I were an outsider, they would have been who I was pulling for. That's no consolation now, I know, but I became a fan of theirs.
I became a fan of Coach Jamie Kohlkmeier and his staff, including old friend Greg Robinson, and how they rallied the players in a way that was admirable and inspirational. You could see that they truly became a team, a selfless team playing for each other and for their senior teammate, Kessinger.
If you are on Twitter, that's where most teens are running away from mom, dad, and grandparents on Facebook, you will see many of Kessinger's teammates profile pictures with him in it. Him dressed in street clothes, unable to play, clapping with a prideful smile on his face, happy for his teammates. His reaction and their using the picture as a profile shows the love, yes love, that teams enjoy and embrace and can make athletic teams special and experiences you will never forget.
So what will you do? When you face true adversity, not the adversity of losing a game or ending a career, but when you may be crippled or when a loved one is no longer capable to be along side you in whatever you choose to do, what you love to do together?
Will you crawl up in a ball? Will you give up? Or will you be like Corydon Central's boys' basketball team and regroup, retool, rethink, come together and compete, to fight, and become closer in that situation than you ever would by winning a game.