It’s a game. It is just a game. Several years ago, Bernie had a friend who hated me because I liked Indiana basketball and Bobby Knight–in fact, the revelation that I loved IU was reason enough to have nothing to do with me. Since converting to the love of the Kentucky Wildcats, I have witnessed such ridiculous behavior from grown folks, too. I am shocked and saddened every time it happens. I feel the need to write about it because such emotion quickly carries over into our attitudes about other things. I will tell you that I wasn’t always the quiet fan, and I’m not proud of that. I will also share that I decided a long time ago that what team you support neither elevates nor demotes you in my book. I just am glad you enjoy the game.
I can only think of a couple of reasons a person really has the right to be so ugly:
- Your job and ability to put food on your family’s plates is directly impacted by how well a team performs.
- Well, I can’t really think of a second one, and I really don’t agree with the first reason.
So, there really is no reason to be ugly. Kids are learning at early ages to be ugly about what team another person chooses to support. I love to see Kentucky win, but I don’t die when they lose. It is a game for me. My child doesn’t play for one of the teams, so it doesn’t directly affect me. I haven’t bet money on the game, so it won’t change my financial status with a W or L.
My daddy was a smart man. He could watch a game, talk about the poor job the refs were doing, talk about the poor job the players were doing (on either team), and enjoy the sport. At the end of the game, he usually went to sleep on the couch or went out to pick up sticks in the yard.
If you have any control whatsoever over how those kids (and they are all kids in high school and college) play the game, then by all means DO SOMETHING. If you do not have any control over how those kids are playing the game, nor control over how the coach is coaching, nor control over how the refs are calling, then yell for your team, enjoy the game and the talents that are running around out there, and be kind to the next person. I know that it really sucks when your team loses, when it seems unfair and one-sided that the refs make bad calls that we can so clearly see from the stands, and it really hurts when a coach chews your child out for not doing what they were supposed to do. But at the end of the day, at the end of the game, choose what matters.
I still think Bobby Knight was one of the best coaches, as was John Wooden. You don’t have to like either of them. You don’t have to like any team that someone else supports. Is it really necessary, though, to make other people feel like they are not worthy of your time because of ‘their’ team? Grow up, friends. Life is about so much more. Take time to appreciate what your child’s coach is trying to do, what the players are trying to do, and how the refs are running up and down the court trying to call a fair game. They all screw up, and we don’t have to like it, but we also can choose to not allow our indignation to control us.
Thanks for reading. It’s always nice to get it out and know that maybe someone will read and realize that they could live differently with much more joy. I wish we had learned earlier than we did…