This is a question I’ve been asking of myself lately. I am a huge sports fan. College football and basketball. Professional tennis and golf. Any team wearing a Big Orange T has my full attention.
I don’t play sports. Never have. I remember taking tennis lessons at our neighborhood club as a teenager. Chasing the little ball around the sweltering court in the 90% humidity was not my idea of fun–especially when I could hear my friends in the pool just a few yards away. I also took golf lessons (I have a terrible slice), riding lessons (I never got a pony for Christmas), and guitar lessons (back in the day before Wii made guitar playing a competitive sport). Oh, and LOTS of swimming lessons. Swimming was ok–no sweating there. I even worked as a substitute life guard at our pool.
There have been a few standout athletes in my family. My father lettered in several sports in his high school days. My brother was a track star, held several state records and went to college on an athletic scholarship. And my niece swam her way into an athletic scholarship as well.
But here’s what I realized tonight. Sports can make everything better.
I had an absolutely shitty day at work today. (There’s just no other way to describe it.) It was the kind of day that makes you want to go to the nearest gas station and buy $5o worth of lottery tickets. Just in the hopes that you can come in tomorrow and say “I quit.” But instead of going to the gas station, I just came home and turned on the tv. The University of Tennessee women’s basketball team, the Lady Vols, were playing. What made this game special is that, if they won, it would be Coach Pat Summitt’s 1000th victory–the most in college basketball history, men’s or women’s.
As I watched, the bad day faded away. Little by little, my team pulled ahead. And when victory was inevitable, I felt like a winner myself. And I realized that sports take us away from the mundane work-a-day world and helps us all be winners–even if it is vicariously.
I can’t dribble. I certainly can’t shoot a layup. But tonight, a coach at my school has done something that no other college coach has done.
Good on you, Coach Summitt. And thanks for making a bad day a little better.