Beyond The Score

Central Vermont Sports Blog

March Madness

with one comment

March Madness is one of my favorite times of the year. Not just because of college basketball but because of local high school and college sports playoffs. The usual snow storm complicates the Vermont scene. It’s madness because of time changes, snowblower repairs, broken shovels, canceled local games and power outages. The madness is relentless and I really enjoy it. It has something to do with the added challenges of being 72 years old.

2017 has brought me a few regrets mostly because of a toxic negative attitude that has seeped into me from the current political environment. Today was an AHHA moment when my wife said it was a NDT day (No Donald Trump) for her. So I started her NDT day and found that it was hard for me to avoid the media stream of negative political opinions but I was able shut it off!

This negative attitude went beyond politics and has seeped into my everyday life. I love basketball at every level. I go to games and watch whenever possible. I’m sitting here watching Wichita State vs Kentucky men on my computer and West Virginia vs Maryland women on my iPhone while flipping between the Arnold Palmer Invitational and Red Sox spring baseball on TV. I know. I’m a freak!

This brings me to the regret I mentioned earlier. A good friend gave me tickets to all the Vermont girls basketball tourney games at the famous Barre AUD. The previous week I enjoyed the Vermont DII, DIII, DIV boys tourney. The girls tourney began and that’s when my negative attitude started to complicate my passion for local sports.

The regret started when I watched a game and the score with one minute left in the first period was 1-0. The score at the half was 7-5. For some reason I became disgusted by the level of play and stopped enjoying the tourney as this was not the first game with such a low level of play.  These are the four best teams in the state from each division. I found myself being critical of officials, coaches, players and fans. I had reached a low in my attitude and appreciation of sport.

I thank my wife for the NDT day as I saw myself sliding into a swamp of moan, groan, gripe and complain thinking. Conflict and confrontation seems to have dominated 2017. Damn it, I’m a victim.

Back to my regret! I was sitting in the coffee shop talking about the low level of play and another retired girls basketball coach mentioned he was looking for tickets to the sold out finals for the girls basketball tournament. I gave him all my tickets not out of generosity but out of disgust. I totally regret that thinking for many reasons!

Until this year I’ve thought of myself as a person that would judge a player not so much for athletic ability but more for their effort and character. When I was coaching I always appreciated the character and effort a player put into the game. Many athletic gifted players would hang back and not explore improving their gifts while a lesser talented athlete would work like hell to improve. I’ve always been drawn to players with a strong character and a tireless work ethic.

I had forgotten that and was making judgements about the level of play over the level of effort. Because of that I missed a great championship game which was all about character and effort. How could I ever judge a player because they didn’t have a perceived athletic skill level or perform to some external expectation?

Today while watching tributes to Arnie during the Arnold Palmer Invitational from Bay Hill in Florida, I realized I had gone to a dark place. #ArnieWould profiles reminded me that to give to others and love each other was much stronger than fear and hate. Having a NDT day brought me back to what’s really important.

Today I was reminded to appreciate effort and celebrate character. I was reminded by Arnold Palmer to give to others and love each other. This is what’s real and after a NDT day I realize and remember who I was before the 2016 election and I’m glad.

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Written by Roger

March 19, 2017 at 7:14 PM

One Response

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  1. I think you’re going to be okay!

    Newton Baker

    March 20, 2017 at 10:02 AM


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