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Wash Journal   Fairfield Ledger
Neighbors Growing Together | Jul 18, 2018

Don’t let greed get in the way of success

By BROOKS TAYLOR | Mar 11, 2016

Greed is one of life’s many Achilles’ heels. You’ve heard the saying, “Money is the root of all evil.” I don’t have a clue if that is true, but I will take somebody’s word for it.

I do know, however, that greed can adversely affect perspectives.

While it is prudent to set goals in life, those goals must be realistic. You can shoot for the stars but if you realize that is not attainable, it is time to re-assess those goals.

I mentioned before that I frequent the message boards, particular sports. The boards are much more interesting and there are so many more posts when your team loses. Why? I don’t know for sure, but I think people like to vent and the message boards provide that opportunity while still maintaining a degree of anonymity.

At the beginning of the 2015-16 basketball season, the Iowa Hawkeyes were picked to finish ninth in the men’s conference standings. Finishing ninth in a 14-team conference means that expectations were not high.

Just like in football, the basketball team fooled us. They exceeded expectations and rose to third in the Associated Press basketball poll. They also were in the driver’s seat for the conference title through much of February.

The winning made us greedy. No longer was an NCAA Tournament bid enough. We saw visions of a Big Ten title, so did others with one national sportscaster saying the conference championship was Iowa’s to lose.

Iowa basketball reached the cover of Sports Illustrated for the first time in 70 years. The magazine said the Hawkeyes were the surprise of the college basketball season.

We heard the national sportscasters picking Iowa as a number-one seed, playing the opening two rounds of the NCAA Tournament in Des Moines. We bought in.

Just when we started envisioning a Final Four, it happened. The roof caved in.

Although the roof did not cave in literally as it had two years ago, just before Iowa was to play Indiana at Assembly Hall in Bloomington, Ind., there are some striking similarities.

First of all, the Iowa swoon of 2014 was simultaneous with the collapsing of the roof. Move the clock ahead two years and although the Assembly Hall roof remained intact, the roof figuratively caved in on the Hawks, starting with the loss at Indiana.

Taking it a step further, most of the Iowa starting lineup this year, were starters on that 2014 team. Hmmm.

So, Iowa is not going to be a top four seed. Prior to the season, most fans would have happy with a berth, regardless of seed. But winning throughout the last half of December and throughout January made us greedy.

Now, that we’re back to reality, this is one year a lower seed may not be bad because there is not a juggernaut in college basketball this year. People who follow the game believe as many as 15 teams could be left standing on April 4.

And when it comes right down to it, a loss in the NCAA Tournament is far from the end of the world. There are two million people in China who could care less and a majority of sports fans probably would not be able to name the 2015 NCAA title winner.

When looking back at the Iowa season, do we remember the team who was ranked in the top 10 in both 2014 and 2016 (with many of the same players), or the one that finished the season with 13 losses in 16 games in those two seasons? Our greedy side wanted so much more; our realistic side said that perhaps the team was over-ranked in both years. Confidence and mental toughness can’t be coached, and save for one senior, the 2016 senior class seemed to be lacking in both attributes.

I can’t close without a few words of home-school pride. South Dakota State University, my alma mater, qualified both its men’s and women’s teams Tuesday for the NCAA cage tournaments.

That isn’t entirely surprising as it has happened before in the same season. The school has been NCAA Division I member eight years. During that span, the women’s team has qualified for the tournament seven times and the men earned their third berth in the past five seasons. Last fall, the football team was an FCS playoff qualifier. Not a bad year in Brookings, S.D.

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