For the past 46 years, or since I was 14, I have been a University of North Carolina basketball fan. During 42 of those years, the season ended badly, that is without the Heels winning a national championship.
The four years where Carolina captured the title are the biggest thrills I have had in sports. Last Sunday when the season ended with UNC's loss to Kansas, I was moody and gloomy as always, though, in reality, the season likely ended for all intents and purposes the Sunday before when Kendall Marshall broke his wrist.
Nevertheless, UNC has given me much over the years, especially Coach Dean Smith. I have read his books and the wisdom he imparted on how to treat people in general and young people specifically greatly influenced how I teach high school students. In fact, I often tell people I have two roll models: Coach Smith and my late grandfather Willie. Both talked about the importance of hard work, treating people with respect, and having high expectations for yourself.
Yes, the last loss is always a bitter blow, but, proverbially, there is always next year. And without a doubt the "Carolina Way" that Coach Smith instituted is a marvelous way to approach life.