It was by far the largest upset in women’s basketball history. When fifth seed Louisville Cardinals defeated number one seed and defending national champion, Baylor Bears, in this year’s Sweet 16 round of the NCAA 2013 Women’s Division I championship, time stood still as people gawked in disbelief. The Louisville women won five games to get to the final national championship battle against Connecticut, but it didn’t come easy, and no one expected them to be there. There was one team, one person, in the way: Baylor Bears Brittney Griner. Like David and Goliath, Louisville needed to defeat Brittney, whose 6′ 8″ frame, a giant among women, practically shut down every team she played against. The odds were stacked against them. Brittany, the giant, took away the hope of many young ladies. She shut down other teams’ offensive strategies, blocked them from scoring, and was an obstacle to their success.
But when the fight came knocking on Louisville’s door on Sunday, March 31st, 2013, the Cardinals didn’t back down. They stepped up to the challenge and did the impossible. They entered the arena of doom, and took on a different attitude. They decided they were going to lay everything on the line, give Baylor and Griner as much trouble as they could strategically and physically muster, and believed, as Louisville Coach Jeff Walz said, “Why not us?” It paid off, and Louisville walked off the floor champions that evening. They did the impossible. They changed the course of history for good. But just 10 days later, after two more victories, they walked off the floor, losers. Crushed by the Connecticut Huskies, Louisville’s response in the locker room after the devastating national loss was not filled with tears, but positivity.
Columnist Graham Hays noticed, “Here were voices, not the happy, raucous voices of Sunday night’s semifinal comeback against Cal, but voices that seemed to have already put one loss in the perspective of five wins that preceded it.” “When you’re not supposed to do something and you do it, it still feels pretty good even though you don’t reach what you ultimately wanted to do,” Louisville associate coach Stephanie Norman said. Winning a national championship would have been bullseye for Louisville, but in light of “the human spirit [of] doing the impossible, there’s something to be said for that,” Norman said. “It’s without a question, without a doubt, going to go down as one of the greatest runs in women’s basketball,” Louisville coach Jeff Walz said.
That’s the way I felt about my 6th grade girls basketball team this season. Not everyone can bring home a state or national championship, but like Louisville, we accomplished more than was expected this year. Our skills improved individually and as a team. We were more Confident at the end of the season, and sure gave everyone trouble! We saw glimpses of brilliance in our athletes, who shut down star players on almost every team we played, including the state winner. We rattled other coaches, players, and surprised even the referees, who always seemed to make it a point to say that, “[We] could go toe to toe with any team out here, and once [our] shots start falling consistently, we’ll be beating these teams.” Our defensive stamina and offensive quickness rattled many cages, all because our players faced their giants and gave them as much trouble as possible. As spring rolls around, and I reflect personally on what I set out to accomplish these last few years (I always set the bar quite out of reach), I am not at all disappointed that I haven’t hit my mark just yet.
- I’m at peace that by the grace of God, I’ve battled some demons when I was down, and won.
- As I’ve learned to give more of my worry and plans to God, it has released my family from an imbalanced and stress filled life and created an atmosphere of peace, safety, and love between us.
- I‘ve established online and interpersonal relationships with others and encouraged them to live more Christ honoring lives, which has given them more hope.
- About fifty middle schoolers learned a number of Biblical principles from my teachings, and even had fun doing so.
- When girls were struggling through some tough life situations, I was the voice of positivity and encouragement for them. And when they wanted to quit, or back down, I would NOT let them give in.
With the help of God’s guidance, I faced my giants, and resolved that in every situation I would bring as much positive Lisa trouble as possible! I would be more influential than my giants. I would leave my mark. We all have our giants. Maybe you’re a mom whose walking your daughter through a friends’ betrayal, and delicately patching her broken heart and yours back together. Maybe you’re a wife struggling with an unfaithful husband; a woman whose trying to find her identity amongst her kids never ending soccer, basketball, and wrestling extravaganzas; or working to shed those winter pounds once and for all. Whatever your Giant, and whatever defeat you have experienced in the past, it is my prayer that you would never ever give up. I pray that you would Face your Giants, and with God’s direction, give ’em as much TROUBLE as possible. Step up and be the change, the example of the life you dreamed to lead, and the one God has already reserved for you. If my 6th grade girls can do it, so can you. “Excellence in the Making” An Enspire Production.