The Break Up

Pepin

Dear Sports,

You and I need to take a break.

You know we’ve always been an unlikely pair.  You’re noise and action; I’m peace and quiet.  You’re competition; I’m cooperation.  You’re: “Win, win, win!”  I’m: “Why not give it a try.” I’ve been resisting you for years, and I wasn’t expecting to be cozying up to you all winter. But I’ll admit, this time you really got to me.

You set me up with a team that was both disciplined and fun to watch. I don’t know them, but they seem like a terrific group who enjoy the game and enjoy each other. Plus, you had them winning all the time — you know that’s the best part. You gave them a thoughtful and dignified coach. No histrionics: just results. You surrounded them with enthusiastic and supportive and fantastic families, who were generous enough to make a little room in the stands for us. You had my kid on the sidelines, collecting high fives like they were treasure and never getting overlooked — despite the three foot height difference. You let games be a way for me to meet great people from my own little town that I wouldn’t otherwise have bumped into. And you were smart enough to have my husband doing the PA. You probably guessed (rightly) that he would otherwise have spent the games antagonizing the refs, which might have sent me running for the hills.

Very wily, Sports. Very well played.

And then you hit me with a heartbreaker to end the season. Sure, we’d talked about that whole “win some/lose some” concept, but you and I both know that it sounds better in theory than in practice. And such a loss. Three points at the buzzer for the opposing team. And it didn’t even look like a real shot. You couldn’t have at least let them go into overtime?

Seeing the shock and sadness of the players, the moms blinking back tears, the dads hastily assembling their brave faces: it was too much to take. I remember now why we’ve never gotten along.

So goodbye for now, Sports. I’m not watching March Madness — it’s too close to home. I’m certainly not watching the NBA. Cheering for one of those teams after division three basketball would feel like cheering for Starbucks — just a lot of branding. I might sit through lacrosse or baseball games, but you should know ahead of time that I’m just there for the sunny weather and the snacks. And football? No thanks. It’s a game based on knocking into each other.

Maybe you and I will try it again someday, but not today. I need some time to put this all into perspective, and to steel myself against the next sad day. It might take me a while.

Give me a call next November, and we’ll talk.

__________________________________

PS:

To the Middlebury College basketball team, coaches, families and fans: thank you sincerely for a wonderful season. It was a delight.

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