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 the 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.