Wow… that was hard. My team lost in the weekend Madness. My team was supposed to do great. They didn’t play that way.
I know it’s just a game. Sometimes you win. Sometimes you lose. But sometimes it feels like way more than just a game.
Not every game feels that way, of course. Not every team. But this one — certainly this one. I can’t remember not ever being a fan. And when I went to college, they became mine. In the blood, sweat and tears, so-to-speak… when we obliterated the opponent and were ourselves obliterated… we experienced it together. I was there. I cheered my loudest. Hardest. No matter what. So many times my voice was hoarse thereafter. This was after all “my team.” I often feel like they are somehow a small extension of me.
And so this idea that “it’s just a game” rings a little hollow for me. As said, it feels like more.
So as the forty minutes of slow-drip misery on the hardwood finally ceased, my spouse and I went for a late night walk…
We took a few minutes first to commiserate, but we didn’t stay there long. No need — we had been doing that for much of both halves.
Then we playfully talked about what would be worse.
Next we took some extended time of intentional gratitude… what things are we grateful for? What are the blessings in disguise?
We then prayed for the coach in the locker room… may he have wise words, especially to those young men who are hurting… geesh… they’re only 18-21 years old… their brains are still developing…
And last we remembered that there were persons who felt differently than we. In fact, there were persons who were downright jubilant in the results.
That process, even though it was painful, reminded me that there is always more to a scenario than how we feel. And while we may not like the way we feel and we may deeply dislike or even abhor the results, the wise one learns to respond in maturity. That goes for my deep disappointment. In far more than sports. When we were children, we reasoned like children. We’re not children any more, but sometimes we still fall prey…
We get angry.
We lash out.
We conclude the people who feel differently are at the very least misguided but definitely wrong and maybe even evil.
We minimize dissenting feelings, thoughts and perspective.
We can see no other angle than our own.
Yesterday morning as I took yet another long walk, still wrestling with the lingering sting, I walked by a basketball court and noticed a friend with his maybe 6 year old son outside shooting baskets. My friend shares the same basketball loyalty as me.
I greeted him with a mere, “Hey, are you okay today?”
To which he offered a slow grimace, uttering a simple “no.”
We shared a few thoughts, commiserated briefly more, and then acknowledged the conflicting reality that it felt like more than just a game.
Then he pointed to his son, who has also become a fierce fan of our team. He, too, had been incredibly disappointed the night before. Also true, his son was still proudly donning our beloved university’s garb, while shooting those baskets away.
“When he got up, I asked him what he wanted to do this morning,” my friend said. Enthusiastically, his son responded, “Let’s go shoot baskets, Dad.”
It always helps to put life in proper perspective. Even and especially in disappointment.