Hoop Dreams Dashed

What happens when March Madness turns into March sadness?

Today, the 2013 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament tips off, with four play-in games taking place to whittle the field of 68 teams down to the traditional 64.

Millions of people the world over have spent hours upon hours putting the finishing touches on their game brackets.  Meanwhile, the players, coaches and families affiliated with the teams vying for the national title are getting ready to experience the thrill of victory or the agony of defeat.  The latter can be a heavy burden given the monumental stakes at hand.

However, it’s not just the college co-eds competing for the big prize, who stand to suffer major disappointment this time of year.  Hundreds of high school basketball players from my neck of the woods recently competed in a massive tournament to determine the best team in the state.

My neighbor’s son was part of a boys’ high school basketball team that made it all the way to state and lost during the final seconds of the game.

It was an especially hard pill to swallow for my friend’s son as he is a senior and wanted to end his high school basketball career on a high note.  Unfortunately, for him the winning team was able to squeak out a three-point shot that won it for them before the final buzzer.

According to my neighbor, her son is still down in the dumps about the loss that took place… two weeks ago.

So, what happens when March Madness turns into March sadness… and continues through April, May and June?

Bad moods come and go, but if your child can’t seem to shake his sadness, consider encouraging him to partake in the following:

Listen to upbeat music:  Nothing makes a bad mood worse than listening to sad songs.  Encourage your child to put on some uplifting tunes, and let the music inspire some positivity.

Get some rest:  Fatigue can exacerbate a bad mood.  Getting a solid eight hours of sleep can do wonders for an irritable person.  After all, tiredness can significantly decrease a teen’s ability to cope with negative feelings.

Focus on the positive:  Have your child think of all the things he is thankful for rather than dwelling on the bad things in his life.  Or, take it a step further by having him do something nice for someone else.  It’s hard to remain morose when you are helping a friend, family member or complete stranger.

Talk it out:  Encourage your child to talk about his feelings.  Don’t allow him to wallow in his misery.  Bad feelings can fester and make problems seem much worse than they actually are.  By sharing his or her inner thoughts, your son or daughter might find that others have gone through the same or similar life experiences.

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Michele Cheplic

About Michele Cheplic

Michele Cheplic was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii, but now lives in Wisconsin. Michele graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Journalism. She spent the next ten years as a television anchor and reporter at various stations throughout the country (from the CBS affiliate in Honolulu to the NBC affiliate in Green Bay). She has won numerous honors including an Emmy Award and multiple Edward R. Murrow awards honoring outstanding achievements in broadcast journalism. In addition, she has received awards from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association for her reports on air travel and the Wisconsin Education Association Council for her stories on education. Michele has since left television to concentrate on being a mom and freelance writer.