Hearts out there

I wish I had stayed up with this college basketball game to its conclusion Tuesday night. North Dakota State was battling South Dakota State – isn’t that great? – for the Summit League tournament championship and an automatic berth in the NCAA tournament.

North Dakota State wound up winning 57-56. The Bison rumble on, the hard-luck Jackrabbits scoot along to the National Invitation Tournament.

March is full of euphoria and heartbreak like this, it’s why the term March Madness was coined lo these many years ago, and why so many lives rise and fall with it. But now and again there is something to be gleaned beyond the winner and loser. South Dakota’s coach Scott Nagy delivered that in his post-game comments, according to reports on the game.

I’ve been in enough post-game press conferences to hear in my head the reporter ask Nagy the obligatory, “Coach, what did you tell your team in the locker room?”

This is what Nagy said:

“Most people don’t try, they live in the middle. They don’t put their hearts out there and they try and protect themselves. When you do this and you put your heart out there in front of all these people, sometimes it’s exhilarating and sometimes it’s incredibly painful. But that’s what living feels like . . .

“I hope they live the rest of their lives that way and they don’t protect themselves. It’s hurtful sometimes. Very hurtful.”

I would venture this is always a timely message and reminder, for a lot of us. Timely, yes. But poignant, too. Inspirational, for sure. I’ll read that quote a few more times this week. And the next.

It’s also a reminder that we all need coaches in our lives, of some sort, even if they pass through in just the flash of a basketball press conference.

Thanks, coach.