Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Scrambled thoughts on the end of the season.

Y'all, I don't have anything to say that will make the last sixty seconds of that game any less painful. Hell, I haven't written for 5 days because I didn't know what to say, just a lot of grunting and random profanity as I wandered around my house. (Although for some reason I didn't cry about it until Sunday. What gives?) It almost feels afterthought-ish to write about it now, but I wanted to get something down, so here's something.

I'm in the middle of reading Daring Greatly and apparently so are a lot of other people. It's a book by Brené Brown about learning to own your vulnerability and making yourself open to relationships and life's journeys, etc. (very broad description, and I'm only through half, so take with a grain of salt.) I think my first coherent thought after the multiple incoherent thoughts after the buzzer sounded went something like, Shit, I really wish I hadn't started that stupid book on vulnerability, because I plan to ignore these feelings for as long as humanly possible, which is hopefully forever.

So I guess Brené Brown would tell me that "as long as humanly possible" isn't that long because I managed to ignore my pain and frustration just long enough to pay my tab. I said goodbye to Bill and Rachel and the Brickhouse which had been so brilliantly bright and gut-bustingly loud and triumphant only minutes before and I found Jessie and gave her a hug and I drove back down the interstate across the lake and the sun twinkled on the water and it sucked. It felt like... I missed a step, I skipped a moment, I didn't understand this emptiness after the last two hours of full, full, full. There was so much meaning in those two hours, high fives and cheers and laughter and faces I love and messages uniting us as if we were all in one big arena, that feeling of glorious collective consciousness. I will always hold that within me, no matter the result, and that goes for every game. 

I stopped at the grocery store with my DAVIDSON shirt still stretched across my chest (because, duh) and got a sorrowfully delicious coconut cream pie and went home and ate it all (it was a mini pie) and lay on the couch and did nothing... And did nothing... I did nothing until my boy walked through my door wearing the suit and tie he'd been wearing at Rupp Arena that afternoon WATCHING IT ALL UNFOLD IN PERSON GAHHHH. And now he was here in my kitchen because he didn't have to be in Lexington anymore. And I hugged him because I was so happy to see him and I hugged him because I wasn't. 

You guys, one thing that amazes me is the impact that this program has on those who see it up close for the first time, no matter what the outcome. These are some of the things Marquette fans posted on our message board:

You guys have an incredible team... Your guys showed an incredible amount of heart, skill, and effort... I've always had an incredible amount of respect for McKillop as a coach and now you've gained a casual fan for life after that performance. [Yes, they used "incredible" a lot, but it's all good.]

In watching your post game interviews, specifically that of the players, I came away in awe. Very well adjusted and articulate men. I will be rooting for Davidson for years to come.

That's a rock-solid team you have there with far more talent than many of the pundits gave them and incredible amounts of fortitude and courage... Massive, massive respect for Davidson and best of luck going forward.

Just want to say that your team was awesome yesterday.   

I don't think they were simply being gracious because they got lucky - in those words, in those voices, in the fact that they took the time to write those words, I sense that they got the smallest sniff of what we are about, and recognized the power and goodness and significance behind it. And if they continue to follow us as they say they will, they will observe it on a larger scale. I simply don't think that this is the typical response to an opposing team, win or lose. "Good game," maybe, but "You guys have an incredible team," "I came away in awe," "incredible amounts of fortitude and courage," "rock-solid team"... It's not a consolation for the loss because it doesn't need to be. It is beauty in itself, standing alone, the fact that these strangers glimpsed what we hold most dear about our community and our program. And it is beauty in itself that we get to live it, no matter where we live or what year we graduated.

That's the other thing I have to say. Only hours after the most painful loss of their careers, I read tweets that made me teary from our phenomenal senior basketball players, thanking our fans ("the best in the country"), and everyone who made the last four years the best years of their lives. Again, what a testament. DAVIDSON, what a testament! We all start out as freshmen with this hazy sense of what it will be like, what we've heard, why we chose it, and slowly or suddenly, we discover for ourselves that we are exactly where we are supposed to be. This happened for them, and they will never lose it. I am writing this three years past my own graduation, and yes, I still live within driving distance of the campus, but all of my friends, no matter their location, feel the same - this is our place and these are our people and through all our adventures and life post-bubble, we will not lose that. The countless texts I got on Thursday before, during and after the game are only a small measurement of how true that is. And I am so thankful that these great students who represent us with the aforementioned rock-solid courage find it to be true, too. And the best years of their lives will get even better because they will carry it forward. 


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