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?