There was no time to prepare.
How we’d feel… how we’d react… what we would do.
Would we respond in unison? Would we be encouraged go our separate ways? … act our separate ways? Would division be encouraged? And when all else crumbled to the ground, who would stand as our support?
Would we fight? … would we chastise? … would we judge?
Or… would we embrace what is good? … together? Looking not to what divides but instead to what unifies… what brings about the strongest, most lasting sense of unity? … what is real? … and what has actual power?
Somedays I am discouraged by how we react as a nation — and how those within leadership often use and abuse their leadership in how they rhetorically encourage us to react; it’s like we repeatedly miss the big picture because we’re so embroiled in life’s little battles. Hence, we’ve made molehills into mountains and scratches into scars. We so often miss the bigger picture.
Except last Sunday night.
In Indianapolis — in what was supposedly just a game — University of Louisville sophomore basketball player, Kevin Ware, suffered one of the more visibly gruesome injuries in the immediately-gone-viral age. As Ware jumped to defend a 3 point shot, he landed awkwardly — so awkwardly that his leg buckled in 2 places, seemingly shattering, bending a way that legs don’t bend, breaking the bone in 2 places, with his bare bone sticking 6 inches out of his skin.
The injury prompted immediate shock, horror, and grief by those on the court, those in the stands, and those watching on TV. It was spontaneously gut-wrenching. (At the time, allow me to say the Intramuralist was incredibly thankful to be tuning in solely via radio airwaves.) Thus, there was no time to prepare for how we’d feel and how we’d react as a body… as a nation… as a society. What did we do?
All over the nation — as spurred on from sportscasters whose amplified words suddenly paled in comparison to the reality before them — we were encouraged to pray.
As grown men cried — visible arguably most clearly in the eyes of the typically, fashionably, completely composed coach, Rick Pitino — all over the nation, people prayed.
From Robert Griffin III: “Prayers up for Kevin Ware, his teammates, & family”
From NBA’er Kevin Love: “I don’t even have words. Only prayers right now.”
Fellow professional Stephen Curry: “Pray for him!”
From baseball’s Bryce Harper: “Wow! Speedy recovery for Kevin Ware hopefully! Scary moment! Prayers and blessings to you bud!”
From football’s Eric Wright: “Kevin Ware injury was crazy, gotta send a prayer up for that young man”
And even from Lil Wayne: “May God be with Kevin Ware and his family. Ya in my prayers bro”
When life is hard, we humbly fall to our knees and pray, submitting to a power and authority far bigger and better than ourselves. Sometimes in those moments of crisis — when reality looms larger than rhetoric — wise men encourage one another to bow down. There is no question then as to what is real and what is not — what is appropriate and what is not. Sunday we witnessed the reality of the reaction in college basketball.
God bless you, Kevin Ware. Heal fast. Be wise, and cling to the bigger picture. You now have a nation praying for you.