Adversity reveals character
Gail Goestenkors, a native of Waterford, Michigan, is in her ninth season as coach of the Duke Blue Devils. The three-time ACC coach of the year led Duke to the 1999 NCAA title game and it's first ACC tournament title in 2000. The Blue Devils are currentlyrranked No. 5 in the nation. Check out Goestenkors diary every other week on CNNSI.com.
January 31, 2001
I know it's been awhile since I've written. It's been a very busy few weeks for us. We were on a roll and playing pretty well when Alana Beard, our leading scorer and one of our best defensive players, went down with a dislocated thumb. We were upset and a little worried with a tough stretch of games ahead but the players really bonded together. We talked about the fact that every season at some point teams have to deal with some adversity. It is at those times when you find out what type of character your team has.
The quote I love and use every year is that adversity REVEALS character. I also felt that we could use the time to improve on all aspects of our game and when Alana came back, we had the potential to be better than ever.
I am so proud of this team. They have responded and really stepped up as individuals to help our team improve. The three games we've played without Alana have been tough ones, we went to Virginia and won by three, then went over to Chapel Hill and won in overtime and finished the week with our best performance of the year beating an outstanding Clemson team at home. But as always, there is no time to rest or really enjoy the success because there is always another big game around the corner. We play over at Wake Forest Thursday night, who just took Virginia to double overtime. They are playing great basketball and have won their last five home games. As always, it will be a battle.
The ACC has been crazy this year and it seems every game is up for grabs. I don't really feel like there are any upsets in our conference because every team is good enough to beat every other team. It makes for a very exciting and stressful race, but I would rather have all these close games because I feel sure that it will make us a much better team come NCAA tournament time.
It's hard to believe we have only four home games left. As always, the season seems to go by so fast. You spend so much time and energy preparing for each and every game that when you finally catch your breath and look up for a moment you realize how quickly the season has gone by.
My husband (Mark) and I haven't see much of each other over the last few weeks. He's in the heart of his season (with the Elon men's program) as well. They have had some tough losses lately, so I think we help to keep one another balanced. We can never get too high or too low after wins and losses. I just know that the weekend after recruiting is finished in April, we have a date with a tropical island!!
-- Coach Goestenkors