Thursday, March 18, 2010


2 a (2) an unexpected defeat
3 a : to trouble mentally or emotionally

Oh, Vanderbilt. How many ways can you break my heart? I've come to expect this of you during football season and I've grown very successful at guarding my heart from getting too invested in your performance on the field. But on the court? Your season, until today, had far exceeded my expectations. Surprising wins. Strong plays. Confidence on the court, even when on the ropes.

So I was upset (emotionally troubled) by Murray State's upset (unexpected defeat) of my Commodores today. I did my best to distract myself. I collaged journal pages from the comfort of our Vandy bean bag during the game. I answered the phone when a friend called halfway through the second half to see if I was going crazy. I stayed fairly calm until the last two minutes of game time, when I sternly told my children to NOT get in front of the TV at all until the game was over. (I noted somewhat distractedly that A responded to this edict by crawling on the floor to get from the front door to her room.)

It was all for naught. I collapsed on the ground when Murray State his the game winning shot. K tried to comfort me. All I wanted to do was hide - or scream, very loudly. My husband wasn't even home to share this emotional trauma with me and I actually admired the way Murray State played, so I couldn't point fingers at anyone for this loss. Vanderbilt certainly didn't play a perfect game, but it wasn't a game where I wondered where our team was - we more or less played our game and just got beat. I'm not sure if that makes it harder or easier.

If you aren't a sports fan, you may be wondering what all the fuss is about. And I wish I could explain it to you. I wish I could tell you why a basketball game matters so much to me. I wish I could convey the excitement, the way my pulse races a bit, the seeping disappointment that overtook me at the end of the game. And even more than I wish I could explain it to you, I wish I understood WHY this is the case. What is it about sports that can exhilarate and deflate with such force?

I've really got no answers for you. Only questions:
Do sports take you on an emotional roller coaster?
Does the roller coaster scare you, thrill you or both?
What team(s) give you the wildest ride?

And finally, for Vanderbilt fans everywhere:
Is it worth it? Are the highs worth the lows?

post-game photo of Kevin Stallings, Vanderbilt Head Coach, by Paul Sakuma, AP

1 comment:

Variations On A Theme said...

Ah, sports...

In high school, I had to leave the gym when our team was playing another and the score was really close. It was much too stressful. Not that I really cared so much about who won, but everyone else cared, and I didn't want them to be disappointed.

Same goes for football today. I get SO embarrassed for the guys when they screw up. I just can't watch it.

I prefer to stay away from sports if I'm at all concerned about who wins or if others around me are concerned about who wins.