I was encouraged to hear that the NCAA has been working diligently to figure out a way to safely hold the 2021 Tournament next year. March Madness has always been my favorite sporting event; but not only for the games themselves. Instead I am fascinated by what happens on the sidelines. As I watch those kids, I can see it in their eyes: they are “all-in” — they aren’t thinking about anything but winning their game. But, as a parent, I’m thinking, “These kids are minutes away from never playing together again.”
The teams walk in knowing the rules: win six games in a row, and you’re the champion. If you don’t — you go home with nothing.
Have you ever watched your child on the sidelines after a game, holding back tears from a loss that is so painful that you feel it yourself?
I was glad to hear that they will be attempting to add a little March Madness into our lives in 2021, because I miss it. I miss cheering for teams that I never cared about 24 hours previously, and watching the drama play out game after game. And yes, I’m always pulling for the underdog. Every year, I watch 60+ teams exit the stage, many in tears, knowing that they will never play their sport competitively again.
But if you ask any of them if they’d like to avoid the potential pain of losing by not playing at all — we all know what those kids would say. They want the chance.
The most emotional part for me is watching one team’s euphoria and another team’s greatest fear take place at the same split second in time. Kids are jumping into each other’s arms in wild celebration, while others collapse to the floor out of extreme devastation. The pain is real. It’s raw. It’s embarrassing.
For those of us who went to high school with Tony Bennett, we weren’t surprised about how he turned Virginia around to win the national championship the following year. He acknowledged the defeat in the first round. He congratulated *** on their win. And he allowed his team time to grieve. He also said, “Punch a ticket that they’d have no other way to get it.” Talk about embarrassing, right? The #1 team getting kicks out in the first round? That’s gotta sting.
But every one of this kids stood in a line and shook the hands of the winning team. Just like every sports team has done on the courts and fields around the world. “Good game.” “Well done.” “Impressive performance.” There are hugs and high fives between friends on different teams. It’s a way of closure. It’s a way to take that first tiny step of acknowledging that “although we did our best, we didn’t win this round.”
Not once has a team in the NCAA Championship just decided that they weren’t going to accept the results. None of them just showed up to the next round like they were entitled to be there. You play the game. You lose. You go home. Those are the rules.
What are we teaching our kids today? That it’s okay to ignore test results and sports outcomes that they don’t like? That is’s okay to cheat — even after the fact — to get what you wanted? That it’s okay to repeat a lie over and over hoping that people will eventually believe it.
Tony Bennett’s loss — and then win — was made all the more great because so many of us can empathize with the level of despair that they must’ve been feeling that night, and the sheer power of will it took to take the stage again — laser focused on one goal, but with a slightly more humility.
So many of our current leaders were born on third base, and are still pissed at how hard they have to work too get to the finish line.
If you have to cheat to win, you’re doing it wrong.
If kids to stand in a line, seconds after losing the last game of their career, and shake the hands of their competitors, you can do it, too.
If high school kids, with tears streaming down their face, have the strength to face the media and say, “We really wanted it, we feel like we let everyone down.” — then you should have the courage to do the same.
Even before Derek and I started dating, he asked me about my boyfriend. I didn’t have one at the time, but said, “all I know is, I don’t want a boyfriend who has never had a broken heart.”
If you don’t know what it’s like to have your heart crushed, your dreams shattered, your plans ignored, then I’m not interested in taking that kind of risk with someone new.
Losing, makes winning all the more sweet.
I know many of you have had to comfort you kid on the way home from a game where they lost and either (a) can’t stop crying, or (b) they just tell you that they don’t want to talk about it. Later, we’ll hear them talking to their friends, and are comforted by processing the loss in their own way.
It’s time for us to move forward. Yes, I was devastated when Hillary lost. Partly because she was the most qualified person to have ever run for the office before; but mostly because the person who won didn’t even really want the job, and was already a diagnosed malignant narcissist. But not only did Hillary give her concession speech — she sat on the dais on Inauguration Day. How? Where does someone get the strength to do that? However, *because* she did that, she paved the way for each of us to begin our own healing.
President Biden is the perfect balm for our country right now. He’s not serving to meet some greater political ambition. He’s serving because he feels that he has to — he has to be the bridge between what we have now, and what we will hopefully be in the future. He’s not focused on his 2024 election campaign. He’s not focused on being popular. He’s focused on being fair. Being just. Being strong. Being empathetic.
What is happening in the GOP is disgusting. They don’t deserve any attention at all. In fact, what they need is to be deprogrammed and enter into some sort of mental health program to work through their issues. This isn’t good. I don’t know what has happened, but it’s brainwashing on a scale that I’ve never seen before in my lifetime. And I don’t believe any members of GOP’s leadership could handle a one on one conversation with me. Why? Because (a) they would think that whatever I have to say is beneath them and (b) because they’d just walk out of the room to avoid having a real conversation with me.