I have a thing for sports.
Like most relationships, it’s part healthy + unhealthy, rational + irrational, and we hit the occasional rough patch.
But like all the strongest loves, it’s for life. And that’s why last night’s game featuring the most dynamic college talent ever to play at Duke University, versus the original superstar who paved the way for hundreds more recruited in his mold, it feels like the day after an emotional prizefight that you were absolutely in the right about and still felt awful about winning.
For all my training in communication – four years of English study, twelve years of advertising and business writing, a devotion to Hemingway (and silent judgement for writers who create sentences as long as this one), sometimes I can only effectively communicate in sports cliches. I realize that’s crazy, but it’s also true.
My closest friends don’t verbalize a ‘congratulations’ after become a father for the first time, getting a job promotion. They yell a primal “Let’s goooo” as if ending the U.S. Open on a vicious forehand return.
My most earnest attempts to get my girlfriend to share a load of chores was a firm “Pass the ball, Carmelo.” That’s apparently my way of pointing out that perhaps playing ‘hero ball’ with the dinner and dishes a la Carmelo Anthony’s entire Knicks career would result in a steady diet of “clanks” to the rim.
And to Johnny Dawkins, the first and most important Duke player to usher in the Coach K era? Shake it off. Rub some dirt on it. Step back up to the plate tomorrow and take your cuts.
In 2019, perhaps more of us beyond Johnny Dawkins and his UCF team needs to hear that on a daily basis.
Survive and advance. We love you, Coach.