Cheer for the stumbles
And the tears that linger
For in those moments
There you will find
It’s in those moments
That champions are born
Most NCAA athletes are failures. They don't win the championship. They don't enter the pros. They don't take home a trophy at the end of the season. Only a handful of elite programs reap the acclaim and hardware that accompanies major spectacles like the men's NCAA basketball tournament. Most Division I, II, and III competitors are well-rounded college students giving a tremendous amount of effort for the love of their sport and their college.
Just watching one game of the March Madness media blitz is enough to make even a non-fan sympathetic to the kids with their heads hung low after a devastating loss. Anyone in an office pool knows that their bracket will be busted after the first weekend. There are no trophies for participation.
Yet these are the moments that turn kids into adults, that enforce life lessons of diligence and duty, grit and grace. That's why the March Madness tournament offers a great chance to talk to students about failure, about perseverance, and about process over product.
Ad agency Leo Burnett produced an award-winning TV spot for the NCAA last year called "Cheer." Since then, its aired over 850 times, and it's in heavy rotation again this week. It's easy to see why.
The ad is a brief masterpiece of narration and language to encourage everyone — athletes, kids, and adults — to relish the stumbles of life and the tears of as-yet-unmet goals. As the transcript reads, these moments turn disappointed players into "the provoked, the determined, the unified."
For more ideas about teaching with the NCAA tournament, check out: "March Madness In The Classroom — Teaching With Tournament Graphics."