As we get older, allegedly we get wiser. We're perhaps not necessarily smarter but rather have gained enough repetitions in life to understand patterns that hopefully enable us to make better decisions — or predictions — about the future.
Those of us who have witnessed our share of seasons for various Minnesota teams, then, should be wary of this notion: Team X will be good next season because it was good this season.
We've seen that idea pop up regarding the Gophers men's basketball team, which made a surprising turnaround from eight victories a year ago to 24 wins and an NCAA tournament berth this season.
The Gophers lose only Akeem Springs from this year's team while gaining some talented newcomers to go with other returning players who figure to make strides as they get older.
The logic is there. And for the sake of Minnesota sports fans, I hope it turns out to be true. The winter sports scene is a lot more fun here when the Gophers have a competitive men's basketball team.
That said, there also have been numerous examples of Minnesota teams failing to live up to the lofty standards set by a previous season.
The most notable among them came in pairs: the 2009 Vikings going 12-4 and making it within one play of the Super Bowl, bringing everyone back for 2010, and winning half as many games in 2010. They were followed closely by the 2010 Twins (94 wins) giving way to the 2011 Twins (63 wins).
Those two franchises gave us more recent examples as well: Twins officials believed they would contend for the playoffs in 2016 after winning 83 games the year before. Instead, they plummeted to 59 wins. The 2015 Vikings went 11-5; the 2016 squad started 5-0 but quickly cooled to an 8-8 finish.
Simply put: Each season is an entity of its own. And success depends on learning that lesson rather than expecting to repeat what you have already done.
This year's Gophers played five overtime games in the Big Ten, winning three of them — with two of those coming during that crucial eight-game winning streak in the back half of the conference schedule that pushed Minnesota from a nice story to a no-doubt tournament team.
They played a bunch of other close games — winning some and losing some — to serve as a further reminders of their thin margin.
Again, that's not to take away from what Minnesota accomplished. It was a special season, and learning to win close games is a necessary step in becoming a consistent contender.
But the Gophers will need to prove it again next year. They will have to do it without Springs, a catalyst in many ways who left a clear void in their last two losses to Michigan and Middle Tennessee after he was lost for the season to injury.
The Gophers will attempt to do next season what a lot of other local teams have failed to do: win when everyone is expecting it.