Losing the 2023 Championship Game has been the most painful moment for Clark.

Life is smiling at Caitlin Clark right now. She is the all-time leader in points scored in the NCAA, the number one prospect for the 2024 WNBA Draft, with a stratospheric NIL, and sponsors looking for her left and right.

Caitlin Clark walks to the locker room after loosing the championsip...

But there was a moment, a year ago, where her world seemed to collapse, and like most mortals, she decided to drown her sorrows in a bar.

Knowing that our idols are as human as we are almost always makes them more admirable. Understanding that not even their lives are all honky-dory makes us admire them even more, and that is the case with Clark and the way she took her teammates to a bar to mourn the loss in the 2023 Championship Game against the LSU Tigers.

Her story is told by ESPN senior writer Wright Thompson, who has followed Clark’s career step by step and had the opportunity to speak with her on multiple occasions. Many of those talks were about victories, but this one, in particular, centered around the painful defeat.

The 102-85 game that ended in a bar

The history of that game is more than known: After a historic campaign, the Iowa Hawkeyes and Clark arrived as favorites for the title game against the Tigers led by Angel Reese, the other face of women’s NCAA basketball.

Far from what everyone thought, the game was all for LSU. The Tigers took the victory 102-85, limiting Caitlin to only 30 points, a far cry from the 41 she had averaged in the past two games.

The locker room and the bus back to the hotel were filled with endless crying from the Hawkeyes.

The defeat hit them deeply. Clark cried in her father’s arms in the hotel lobby and then went to her room to take a long shower to wash away the sweat and sorrow.

About three blocks from the hotel, a bar called “Happiest Hour” caught her attention, and after her shower, she took her teammates to toast the wonderful season that had led them to the runner-up spot.

A night to remember

The girls stayed out all night, trying to drown the pain of defeat in alcohol, like the rest of us mortals. Anecdotes and stories came and went. A team fan bought them a round of drinks, and the next day, they headed back home.

In the end, the defeat still hurt, but they forged a new memory of camaraderie in their most painful moment, and that makes Caitlin a bit more awesome than she already was.