My Thoughts on BYU Basketball

I'm trying to be philisophical about the turn of events this week in BYU basketball, but it's really hard. I know the actions taken by the school regarding Brandon Davies were fair and right. I can imagine he must be feeling humiliated and devastated at what his poor choices have caused and I feel for him. Last night as Jimmer Fredette and the rest of the team struggled, it was clear that they'd been dealt a near-fatal blow and hadn't had a chance to bandage the wound.

"Why do I care so much?" I've asked myself over and over the last two days. After all, it's a game. It's guys dribbling a ball and trying to put it in a net. There are no lives at stake, world peace doesn't hang in the balance. I'm confident that at the judgment bar there will be no box scores to justify and no win/loss records to review. I think of the Davies family who must feel so disappointed. I think of a team that rallied together and danced around Davies before each game. They're the ones suffering the most.

But those of us who love basketball, and BYU basketball in particular, are feeling it too.

You see, BYU basketball has been part of my life for as long as I can remember. I was taken to BYU basketball games in a baby carrier when Dad was a student at BYU.

When I was a very little girl, I remember being with my family at a stoplight in Provo as we excitedly waved to Kresimir Cosic, the basketball hero from Yugoslavia who played for BYU in the early 70's and who c0nverted to the church and then took the gospel to Yugoslavia. He was a giant man folded into a tiny car and we got to see him.

Dad and Mom had season tickets for years and as one of the oldest children, I had the opportunity to go to some of the games. I loved them. I kept track of points, rebounds and steals in the little boxes provided in the programs. If there were empty seats up close, we'd move closer at half time so we could get a better view of the action. I watched Danny Ainge, Devin Durrant, the Roberts brothers and so many more. It was a fun outing with Dad and a few uncles and cousins.

I learned what a zone defense was and how it differed from man-to-man. I developed an appreciation for great passing. I learned to love the game.

When I was fifteen, we moved to Missouri. One of my biggest losses was no BYU basketball games. For two seasons, I drove to the end of our long lane, parked the car there in the dark, and carefully adjusted the radio to 1160. Thank goodness it wasn't digital or I'd have never gotten it, but if I got the car in just the right place, and the dial in the exact spot, I could hear Paul James, along with a lot of static, and I could hear my team play. That first year, BYU traveled to Oklahoma and played Oklahoma State and Oral Roberts on two different nights. I got to go to both games and even got to meet a couple of the players after the game outside the locker room.

A couple of times, if there was a big game we couldn't get, Dad and some uncles and cousins (me included) would go to to a bigger town to a hotel with cable, rent a room and crowd in to watch the game. It was a big deal.

After my mission, BYU had the Mike Smith, Jeff Chapman, Jim Usevitch run and I attended almost every home game. I met and went out twice with Jim Usevitch, even attending the BYU game at the University of Utah, where I met him after the game and we walked to the car while a couple of drunk Utah fans threw garbage at us. I wanted to turn around and fight, but Jim stayed calm and we walked quietly to the car.

I can't remember a time when I wasn't a BYU fan. You can see why my feelings run deep. And this year was the year. It was our year. After many years of getting my hopes up only to have them dashed, usually in the first or second round, I've learned to savor my hope with a good dose of skepticism. But after the game Saturday, the skepticism retreated and I really thought this was it. Then Monday we were ranked third and I KNEW this was it. I was ready to buckle up for the March ride of a lifetime.

And then Tuesday came. I hope Brandon knows that I wish him well. I hope he gets his life squared away and that he comes out of this in a good place. But last night, as frustration turned to heartache as I watched his teammates struggle with no time to adjust to this hard, new reality, I felt like crying.

I guess I need to not care so much. Can someone please tell me how to do that?


Stephanie Abney said...

Nice post. :)

Leslie said...

i have been saddened by the many people who have been so hard on brandon davies over the last few days. he is human. we are human. his mistakes are being broadcast through the airwaves... and that is not fair. i feel so bad for him and his family and i hope that people will be gentle and loving towards them all. they deserve it just like we all do.
i have no doubt in my mind that davies was in tears most, if not all of the game last night as he watched his beloved teammates struggle through that game. he did the right thing in coming clean though. i feel so bad for him.

i hope that BYU will still play a great rest of the season and that they will even go far into the tournament. not all is lost.

let's all be gentle.
nice post karey.

Lance said...

I can sympathize with you, even though I don't share your passion for basketball. It's always hard to have your hopes raised and then dashed. I certainly hope the BYU team will manage to recover and that next year will be a good year for them. Still, I do think a little perspective can help.

Right now American boys are getting killed and maimed in Afghanistan and Iraq. How important is BYU basketball?

Right now a war is being waged for the future of our country. How important is BYU basketball.

Right now Brandon Davies is asking himself which path he is going to take through life. How important is BYU basketball?

Right now your kids are noticing what you care about most. Your example will influence their priorities and affect what they focus their energies on. How important is BYU basketball?

cucciolo25 said...

How important is BYU basketball?

Life and Death!

Scott / Lori said...

I think it is okay to really enjoy something like basketball. Most of us know it is not the most important thing when you look at the larger picture of life, but sometimes an escape is needed, and then you can go back to reality and focus on the bigger and more important things. I liked your stories about going to the games and being a fan. What nice memories from your childhood. We all need those.

Edonna said...

Ahhhh, BYU basketball. Was in the crowd on the streets of Provo when Danny Ainge and team beat Notre Dame. Where we were in standings, I don't even know; why it was such a big deal is a faded memory.

I sat through games pregnant, suffering the back pain. My oldest went to the games as a baby.

I taught with John Sharp. He is a big man. Bigger than Darrell Hansen, I think. Why was Ainge so good? He had to beat John during practice. John was the reason Ainge, Kite and others were so good. Don't ask me why he wasn't first string then.

I was a sports widow in the past. I've lost touch with the ongoings of BYU sports since then. I could easily go to my brother-in-law's and watch with him. I tried it. I fell asleep.

I feel for the player and agree with Leslie. I'm sure glad my mistakes are not national news.

Love your posts Karey. I'm still planning a Utah trip.