What An Opportunity

We’ve got us.

In Sports on June 10, 2012 at 1:41 am

Everyone wants to have a lot of friends. Call it the Facebook effect, blame it on the fact that high school never ends, whatever you want. In my vast wisdom at age 22 though, I’m learning that quantity in friendships only gets me so far… I need some quality. I need some deeper friendships.

That’s where it gets hard. It’s not easy to develop those kinds of friendships. They take time and effort, and they don’t happen by accident, but they don’t happen strictly on purpose either. So, when one comes along, give it the weight it deserves.

I was fortunate enough to develop a bunch of these deeper friendships, and the magnet that brought those friendships together was nothing complex or really even extraordinary; it was basketball. In a matter of weeks, basketball brought me closer to 11 other guys than I would have ever gotten in years without it. That’s the beauty of team sports, especially when it’s hyper-competitive, varsity-level competition, and  especially when you have an insane galvanizing force like a psychotic coach. That’ll bind you together in a hurry.

Adidas has a famous ad that states, “Basketball is a brotherhood.” I imagine some might roll their eyes and accuse Adidas of making romanticized, hyperbolic statements for material gain. But I can dismiss such critics; I’ve lived that brotherhood. I shared a deep, genuine camaraderie with 11 other guys, even including some I couldn’t stand off the court. And if I were to see them today, that bond would still exist… I know it would.

Consider – if it’s still there with the guys I clashed with, imagine the depth of affection and devotion I feel for the ones I was closest too. Basketball truly is a brotherhood. My good buddy Aaron, a high school teammate of mine and fellow Gentleman, just wrote a great article (Surrendering Sport) that talks about how hard it was to stop playing competitive basketball… and boy, is it hard. But it isn’t just the lights, and the crowd, and the adrenaline that we miss. It’s the sweaty mass huddled in the locker room after the game, where the sweetest of joys and bitterest of defeats are borne not by the shoulders of one or two, but of twelve. In fact, that’s what I miss the most. No one outside those walls could understand what we were feeling, or what we had experienced – no one could commiserate with our sorrow or truly share in our ecstasy. Sometimes feelings are too much to bear on our own. That’s why we need those deeper friendships; because at the end of the day, when the bright lights go out and the crowd shuffles on home, all we have is within those four old, yellow, cinder block walls of the locker room.

We’ve got us.

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