And Then My Heart Was Broken

I’ve been going on and on about how sports are great and how much I love them.

And then this weekend sports broke my heart.

Yes, it was partly mostly about my Mizzou Tigers being upset in the first round of the NCAA tournament. I was stunned. Three weeks of my March schedule had been built around the games I would watch this team win and suddenly that schedule opened wide. It was terrible. I watched Twitter accounts for each of theĀ  players I’ve grown to “know” during this fantastic season hoping to see them tweet something that proved they were okay. Jesse laughs at me because I call them “Bubba” or “Baby” during games, the same names I use for him.

So it was about my Tigers first, but then it was about Duke and Purdue and every team that lost. Because, you know, when you play a game of basketball only one team can win! Grown men crying. Coaches worried about the security of their jobs. Parents with grief stricken faces wondering what they will say when their son emerges from the locker room knowing he’s played the last game of his career. No one wants to be the loser in these games. By the end of the weekend I could barely stand to watch any of it.

And then it was about how ugly we can become in the middle of it all. I felt genuinely sad after our loss. It reminded me not to make jokes about Kansas losing (because they will eventually, right?) Why would I want any other fan to feel what I felt that day week? It seems like too many of us are willing to put our sports affiliation in front of common kindness and consideration. (Don’t even get me started on how we treat the officials of these games.) For sure we forget way too easily that the guys on the other side of the court are people too. People with mothers and dreams and adversities overcome. Why is it okay to forget that? Why is it acceptable to be mean to each other as long as we’re talking about our respective sports teams?

Unfortunately, all of this means that sports remains a nearly perfect analogy for life. Winners and losers. Sportsmanship and nastiness. Perspective and passion. Pure motives and mixed. I just happened to be on the losing end this week and therefore noticed the brokenness all around me. I’ve been the winner, too. (Oh, Baylor.) It was nice living there.

March – I tweeted – I prefer your madness when it happens to someone else’s team.

So I guess what I’m saying is that if you are on the winning team today remember that you might find yourself two points short next time. What will you need then? How will you want to be treated?

I want to live that way today.

 

PS – I’m not really that upset about our loss. Well, I am, but I don’t need to be watched carefully or anything. I just thought the situation was a great analogy. Seriously, Kansas fans, I don’t hate you and I forgive you for hating me.

 

13 thoughts on “And Then My Heart Was Broken

  1. Ooh, you’re cutting to the quick there calling out the rivalry with Kansas. And I would have to add Nebraska to that just because of the double-fold meaning it has for my work and alma-mater. Why do we enjoy rubbing it in so much? I guess because it’s one of the few “accepted” places to get away with that behavior maybe?

    • I think so. And I still think competition is good. But you know the roots of the Kansas/Missouri rivalry go all the way back to the Civil War! It doesn’t have innocent beginnings. (Why is it so fun?!)

  2. Pffftt! I’m not ready to be mature yet.

    No, of course you’re right. I had to laugh at myself the other night. After lecturing my kids on being good losers AND good winners, as soon as they were out of earshot I said, “man, I hope Kansas loses.” Probably not a good character model.

    Thanks for the reminder.

    • Well, I still enjoy a good tough rivalry! I wouldn’t want to be so emotionally invested in every team; then I’d NEVER be happy. I guess I’m just shooting for some kind of moderation on my end at least.

  3. I teared up when I read your post title in the sidebar of my blog. I DID. And last night I dreamed that we met those boys together. I think I must have been hugging my pillow as I slept because I hugged Phil Pressey a REALLY long time. Poor Michael – he says “I don’t want to talk about it” one breath before he talks it ALL out and tries to figure out what went wrong. The rivalry part reminds me of Ross and Monica. He thought they were at each other’s throats in “fun” you know, “like when we were kids”. And she says, “I HATED you when we were kids!” I like the rivalry when it seems good-natured, but sometimes I realize I might be the only one who’s not actually hating the other guy. (Kimmie says it’s not a rivalry anyway, though. Did you see that tweet?) ;) And I so relate to checking in with them on twitter. I asked Michael, “In all seriousness, how long will it take for these boys to feel better and not think it’s the end of the world?” I just want them to be happy and believing again!

  4. I loved this team. I was not ready for their season to end. However, there were a number of silver linings for me in the way of lessons learned. Here are just a few:

    1) Don’t buy expensive tickets to a game unless you know for a fact that the team you want to watch is going to be playing in it.

    2) There are no guarantees in life. If you think there are, you are wrong.

    3) Seek first the kingdom of God and not your favorite sports team. (Why do I always forget this around this time of year?) God is faithful. Your sports team might win, but will more likely break your heart.

    4) Never rely on Purdue to come through for you.

  5. I don’t want to talk about it. HA! Just kidding. Sigh. I am in total agreement with you on the way we all treat each other during these games. I don’t like it when a fan can’t be a classy one. All I can do is, be one myself.

  6. I almost bought Jaron a t-shirt last weekend that said, “Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be Jayhawks!” Upon further reflection I put it down. I realized that if there were ever a time to let it go, this was the year!

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