Sports and Grief
~~ Sports may be an escape, but grief is an unforgiving partner.
Sunny Cadwallader, March 18, 2017
March Madness. The most wonderful time of the year in terms of my sports fandom. Watching college basketball games all day long is pure pleasure for me.
Or, at least it used to be.
For the past 10 years, my friend and I have gotten together at the same local establishment to watch the first two days of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. Known as “March Madness” because you never know what can happen.
Giants of college basketball have been slayed by the little Davids of the hoops world. Cinderellas find their slippers. Monkeys are ejected off backs or……
Anything can happen.
This year was especially important to me. Not for the college basketball but, rather, just for the friendship.
In my last post, I wrote about loss. It wasn’t an especially sports-centric post, but it did have some sports themes.
Three men, three deaths – all within a week or so of each other. Perhaps it sounds morbid, but one was expected while the other two were out of the blue.
You would think that I’d mourn the family member, but he had lived a long, rewarding life. He made a positive impact on his family and community. Although I feel sadness for the grief his family and friends are going through, I trust that God will comfort them through this time.
The other two…I guess I’m still trying to process the suddenness of both, unsure why I’m still grieving at all.
Sports is an escape.
They are an escape for many away from the reality of life. The reality of stress, struggle, challenges, adversity and even death.
My hope for this year’s March Madness event was that it would be a reconnection, as well as a recollection of our shared friend. Plus, it would be a time to just enjoy spending time together with friends. Value the moment.
But, we did not share much about our friend. We shared meals and small conversations together over the past two days but not much in the way of stories.
Was it because we didn’t want to talk about such a morbid thing like death or loss when a bustling environment was all around us? Did we not want to deal with sadness or the rawness of our emotions? Was it just enough to be together in friendship?
As I drove away last night, I was emotional. I had been looking forward to these two days and now they were over. I felt a different kind of mourning.
This, however, was mourning on top of mourning.
I mourned the sudden end of these past two days with a friend whom I probably won’t see again until next year. I was still mourning the death of two friends. They were gone and I never got a chance to say another hello. I hope I’ll see my friend again before March Madness next year, but I just don’t know.
Mourning on top of mourning.
Sports wasn’t an escape this time. It was simply a brief interruption of a partnership.
Grief has become a partner. No one is promised a tomorrow. As much as science would like to try, nobody can predict what will happen on Sunday, March 19, 2017.
Will we wake up? Will we see, taste, touch, smell, hear, feel the same way we do today? The route we walk, run, drive today – will we do similar tomorrow without hinderance?
The things that frustrate us today – can we let those things go tomorrow? Mistakes made today, will we learn from them tomorrow?
I don’t know the answer to those questions. Neither do you.
Partnerships aren’t meant to last forever. Until this one ends, I’ll work through it as best as I can using sports as part of the process.
Time to escape.
What time does Arizona play today?