It’s basketball season. This is the time of year when I write posts about how I’m not a sports fan, but I’ve become really gung ho about the Middlebury basketball team, and they’re so nice to John, and it teaches us so much about sports, etc. etc. If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know that and have probably heard enough about it. If not, you can start here.
This year, for the first time since I’ve been paying attention, the Middlebury basketball team has lost more than a couple of games. Including two at home where they were leading right up to the final seconds. I’ve been reminded more than once of why I don’t like sports to begin with. Basketball in particular. A brilliant first half can disappear like a puff of smoke to leave you cringing as the clock winds down. It is crushing.
But my family is hanging in there. We’re fans, and that includes being in the gym for the agony of defeat. Here’s what a slightly less sparkling season has taught me so far.
1) You keep cheering. Even for players who might not be having their best game. Especially for players who might not be having their best game.
2) You applaud the effort at the end of the game, if not the win.
3) After a tough loss, there’s no sense looking for reason in a single play or a single player. A game takes the entire team, win or lose.
4) There is a palpable, visible difference between an attitude of aspiration and one of resignation. This, more than anything, seems to be a good predictor of a game’s outcome.
5) Always stay until the very end, because you never know what might happen. Middlebury has lost games I thought they would win. But they’ve also won games I thought they might lose.
As with everything, those are probably good lessons for life, as well as for sports. But I hope I don’t have to learn any more this year. Let’s go, Midd!