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Ross: Perfection denied for Gonzaga in NCAA championship game

Drew Timme #2 hugs Jalen Suggs #1 of the Gonzaga Bulldogs after losing to the Baylor Bears in the National Championship game of the 2021 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Lucas Oil Stadium on April 05, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The Baylor Bears defeated the Gonzaga Bulldogs 86-70. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

It was sad. From the very beginning. Because everybody in our family on BOTH coasts was rooting for Gonzaga – expecting to see the Gonzaga they saw Saturday. But that team wasn’t there last night.

Or could it be that, yes, that team was there, but Baylor was flat out better. That’s even more painful because it implies Baylor was playing in a better division and that the outcome was inevitable from the beginning.

Maybe we Zag fans were living a fantasy. Like Batman versus Superman – Batman is good, but he’ll never beat Superman unless there’s cheating.

So it was sad, but we all go through it: The meeting with the boss that begins – “We really love your work – but I’m afraid the way the industry is going” … dot dot dot.

Or you’re a physics whiz-kid in high school, you get yourself into a big-time university – and BAM! Suddenly you’re surrounded by young Sheldons.

It’s the story of life playing out on that court – yesterday’s heroes standing there helpless, the seconds ticking away, as the winning team dribbles slower and slower and they can see the glory train leaving the station without them.

You can’t sugarcoat losing.

But what you CAN do is keep it in your pocket. Keep it handy. So that when you suffer the next setback – and it will come – you can say, well, losing that job hurt – but at least it wasn’t like losing to Baylor by 16 points in front of the whole world.

Whereas for the winners? Oh, they’re happy now – happier than they’ve ever been – but very possibly … happier than they’ll ever BE. When you win at that level – that may be as good as it gets.

Once their parade is over, the glory is behind them – back there with the street sweepers and the wet confetti.

Whatever they become, they will always be remembered for THAT day. The amazing thing that happened a year ago. And then five years ago, … and before you know it, 20 years ago.

And in case you’re wondering, yes, I speak from experience. In 1969, I won the Principal’s Award – the best behaved and most helpful student at Yorktown High. It wasn’t even close.

And now, nobody remembers. And even when I remind them, they don’t care. Not even a LITTLE.

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