So, this is the problem with sports: There are winners and losers. And I can’t handle it.
I was in utter agony during the Winter Olympics because they would show us these adorable teenagers from different countries (figure skating, I’m looking at you) and tell us how the whole country would freak out if they didn’t win, and then. Guess what. They didn’t all win. Did anyone see the face of the female silver medalist for figure skating? I wanted to cry for her.
And then in the NCAA game last night–argh. I couldn’t even watch. I wanted everyone to win because they’d both come so far! And worked so hard!
I remember (I am old) when the Jazz were in the NBA Finals and lost to the Bulls and my whole family was SO BUMMED and my dad had to go on a long walk when it was over to ease the pain. When he came back, he said, “I have come to an important realization. I do not play basketball for the Utah Jazz.”
No, he didn’t. But he played in the alumni tournament and he played in the backyard with three of his four kids who went on to play high school ball (and he would have played with me, too, if I’d ever wanted to). So. My dad is not a member of the Utah Jazz. But basketball was still his. He liked it, he played it for fun, and he played it with his kids.
And writing is like this, too. There are awards and sales and ways to get competitive if you want to. But these things are often out of your control. So, when I’m writing something new, like I am right now, I try to remember: I do not play for the Utah Jazz. Nobody sees if it rims out; no one knows how many times it takes me to make that shot. I just play for me, here on my own little court, for now.
Clarification added 4/7: After reading my good friend Jake’s comment, I thought I should clarify that the part about winners/losers being a “problem” with sports was meant to be tongue-in-cheek/self-deprecating. I love sports and also learned some of my best life lessons through competing.