Yup, we’re out of the tournament. That bonfire you’re seeing tonight is the funeral pyre of 100,000 broken NCAA brackets. High hopes are dashed. Great expectations splinter into a thousand shards of disappointment. What now?
One of life’s great ironies is this: You can begin to heal by focusing your energy on alleviating the suffering of others. The clouds of disappointment can be cleared away through selfless service. When we turn our attention toward contributing to something bigger than ourselves, we can regain perspective, reaffirm our commitment to achieving the life we desire and come back into the great game wiser, stronger and more resilient.
On April 16th, it’s my hope that the the many fans who are now processing our early exit from the NCAA Tournament will turn their attention outward, showing the world the awesome power of a Spartan’s Will by participating the MSU Alumni Association’s Global Day of Service. Whether it’s a fresh coat of paint, a new roof or simply the gift of quality time at your favorite non profit organization, each year in hundreds of communities around the world, good deeds are done in the name of our great university. You don’t have to be an elite student athlete to make a difference. Whatever your skills, there is a place where you can contribute them.
Our student athletes know all about this. Community service is ingrained into every one of the 25 varsity sports we celebrate at MSU. President Kennedy was channeling the The Book of Luke when he famously said, “For of those to whom much is given, much is required.” He wasn’t talking about winning a ball game. But victory on the athletic field is directly tied to a mindset of service above self. It’s the key to developing mental toughness and is the most powerful inner competitive advantage we can control.
I challenge you to visit the Spartans Will Power Service Day website to make your own personal statement. Together, we are an unstoppable force for good. We can have a profoundly positive impact that can outlive the outcome of a thousand sporting events.
Our team may be in the depths of anger and depression now, but we know how this works. The success system is still in place. Our values remain the same. New heroes will emerge. Our Spartans will rise again.
For some, the agony of defeat may never fully go away. Our legendary coaches will be the first to tell you that reliving past pain depletes our power to prevail in the future. A focus on serving the greater good can put that past in its proper perspective. On April 16th, make a statement about the resiliency of the Spartan Spirit. Join us on Michigan State University’s Global Day of Service. We’ll see you there!