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Commerce lecturer tries to mend men’s basketball heartbreak

Sherri Moore’s unique extra credit opportunity shows community’s support for the team

<p>Commerce lecturer Sherri Moore introduced an extra credit opportunity that encouraged students to write letters to the basketball team showing their support after the historic loss to UMBC.</p>

Commerce lecturer Sherri Moore introduced an extra credit opportunity that encouraged students to write letters to the basketball team showing their support after the historic loss to UMBC.

After a season-ending defeat to University of Maryland, Baltimore County earlier this March, Virginia fans could do little but watch on as senior forward Isaiah Wilkins sat on the bench with his head in his hands after fouling out against the Retrievers. The players, fans and sports world were shocked at the historic upset. 

“I told the guys, this is life,” Virginia Coach Tony Bennett in the press conference following the game. “It can’t define you. You enjoyed the good times and you gotta be able to take the bad times.”

Students who had the chance to witness an incredible season — including a historic win at Cameron Indoor Stadium and clinching both the ACC regular season and championship titles — didn’t know how to respond to such a devastating turn of events. 

“I went to bed hoping it was just a terrible nightmare and woke up in a different sort of reality,” second-year College student Sam Bachman. 

Rather than reacting negatively to the loss, Commerce lecturer Sherri Moore saw it as an opportunity to both teach her students an important lesson in having a positive attitude and to demonstrate to the basketball team that they have the unconditional support of the students. With these goals in mind, Moore gave her Commercial Law I class an extra credit opportunity to write letters of encouragement and positivity to the players. 

“I’m always talking to my students about the power of a positive attitude and finding the positives in the obstacles in life,” Moore said. “I thought, ‘Wouldn't it be nice if they had the support of the students?’ … The goal of this is for them to think about the season and say, ‘We’re still proud of how we played and who we are on top of that.’”

Moore is also a lifetime fan of the Cavaliers, having attended different sporting events since she was a child and when she attended the University — having the opportunity to cheer for No. 1 Virginia back in 1982.

“I love U.Va. Basketball,” Moore said. “My father went here, so as a child, we used to come up for all the football and basketball games. When I came to school here, we had Ralph Samson and we had a great team that was on fire, just like this one. I think that they’re amazing with what they’ve accomplished this year, so it was easy to want to say thank you for what you’ve done and to keep your chin up.”

The Cavaliers, who have had recent success in the regular season and ACC tournament, have had difficulties in making a deep run in the NCAA tournament. Despite this, Moore said that students should think first about all of the excitement that the team has brought to grounds.  

“I hope that students have been able to learn something from our basketball program this year,” Moore said. “They’re very energized by them and its one huge positive thing that we have here. We’ve had some dark moments at the beginning of the school year, and I know that not only the students but also the community are so proud of these boys all the way through. They're good citizens, students, and they make us proud that we all go to U.Va.”

To Moore, having a positive attitude and a group of people who support you are key to overcoming all of the unforeseen obstacles that life can throw at you. 

“Things like this are disappointing, but it's one small obstacle in life that you can overcome,” Moore said. “And the best way to overcome it is to know that there are other people out there who love you, support you, and are ready for you to get back at it next year and keep going.”