You know the saying: life happens.

The problem is that life doesn’t always happen the way we want it to happen. We get chances to become heroes, but we come up just a little short, or we aim just a little too high, or we reach out just a little too far.

Amid the madness of March, plenty of players have fallen from grace. On Saturday, Pitt’s junior forward Nasir Robinson committed a foul against Butler with less than one second on the clock, which allowed Butler to hit a game-winning free throw. Likewise, Kansas State’s senior guard Jacob Pullen missed a free throw that would have forced overtime against Wisconsin.

It’s not just March Madness, though. How about Boise State senior kicker Kyle Brotzman, who missed a potentially game-winning field goal at the end of regulation and then missed again in overtime in the Broncos’ first loss of the year in November? Remember when English goalkeeper Robert Green botched an easy save against the United States in last summer’s World Cup? Even worse, Bill Buckner cost the Red Sox the World Series back in 1986 after a ground ball dribbled through his legs in the final inning.

The questions always fill the mind of both players and fans. Why me? Why my team? Why did we miss the easy shot or make the stupid mistake? Why am I sitting on the sidelines at the end of the game, crying, burying my head in my arms?

Sometimes there’s no easy answer. You’ve just got to go on with your life. You can’t dwell on the past.

Unfortunately, some people just can’t let it go. Some people overreact and respond violently when life doesn’t go the way they plan. For example, consider Alabama fan Harvey Updyke, Jr. After his Crimson Tide lost to their rival, the Auburn Tigers, in the Iron Bowl last November, Updyke decided to do something stupid, sleazy and illegal. He decided to poison the 130 year-old oak trees at historic Toomer’s Corner at Auburn with a potent herbicide. Clearly this guy has a problem; he’s either mentally unstable, way too obsessed with sports or needs to get a life. With two sons named Crimson Tyde and Bear Bryant, I’m going with all of the above.

There are other idiots in the world of sports. Just a few weeks ago, an angry Wisconsin fan spit on Ohio State’s freshman forward Jared Sullinger as he walked off the court. Last year at a Phillies’ game, an irritated fan forcibly vomited all over a little girl cheering for the opposing team. During the 1950 World Cup, a handful of devastated soccer fans committed suicide after Brazil fell to Uruguay. Talk about crazy.

Is it any different from the players’ perspective? It may be more difficult to say that the game is “just a game” to the players, because the game is actually a job. But that’s no excuse for players who let the situation get the best of them.

Everyone remembers the Ron Artest incident in 2004, when he jumped into the crowd and began assaulting a fan. In baseball, managers often start verbal brawls with umpires, which can actually become quite entertaining.

On a more serious note, a few athletes contemplate or commit suicide because of injuries or pressure. Vince Young allegedly suffered from depression after performing poorly and getting booed by fans. Even worse, Broncos receiver Kenny McKinley and LPGA golfer Erica Blasberg took their lives in 2010 after sustaining season-ending injuries.

Whether you’re a player or a fan, life happens, and how you react makes all the difference. Let’s do a case study of Georgetown. Obviously, things are not so great for Hoya basketball. We lost six of our last seven games, but despite suffering from several crushing defeats, we didn’t go crazy. Sure, maybe we vented a bit on the radio or in the newspaper, but we didn’t start any brawls or poison any trees. We had self-control.

Look at Chris Wright. He got injured back in February, and even though his senior year didn’t go as well as he expected, it’s not the end of the world. He’ll graduate from Georgetown, possibly play in the NBA and continue his career. The loss to VCU won’t last forever.

In fact, unless it’s the Super Bowl or the World Cup or any other championship game, our losses won’t haunt us forever. It’s rarely going to be a life-changing outcome.

So to all you heartbroken souls out there — get over it. It’s one game. It happens. Move on.

 

Nick Fedyk is a freshman in the School of Foreign Service. Double NickTwist appears in every other Tuesday edition of Hoya Sports.

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