Sunday, February 5, 2012

Championship moments

I have a confession. Something I don't like to admit. Sports make me cry. Weep like a baby sometimes.

There should be a few questions going through your head right now like: Why? Doesn't that make your job a little awkward?

I'll answer the second question first: sometimes. Now, I don't get teary eyed at EVERY game, just special ones like senior nights, upsets, and championship games. I'll often sneak out to the hallway at senior nights or quickly busy myself doing something else at the end of a championship game.

Why? There is a finality to senior nights and championship games. Win or lose, the season is over. For some athletes, their career is over. Although most will go on to bigger and better things, there is something bittersweet about the end of a season, even if it ends with a championship.

I was blessed to get to sit on the sidelines with the 2008 NAIA Women's Basketball Champions...and yes, I cried, then I busied myself with icebags (for future reference, no one wants ice after they just won a championship). And although that night was amazingly special for that team, the thing that still gets me more than those moments on the court and of celebration after is the journey that brought that team there. That team grew as individuals and together through 5 AM practice, defensive series drills that would have killed lesser women, bus rides, and pregame meals. The trophy at the end was a culmination of so much more than just talent and hard work.

And that's why I get teary eyed during the Super Bowl. Or the little league world series. Or most likely at the regional basketball championship this week. Even when I don't know the team, my imaginative mind sees the early morning workouts, the untold stories of sacrifice, the encouraging words when an athlete was ready to quit, and the memories made on long road trips.

Most of us will never be in the Super Bowl or even part of a championship bid on a big dramatic stage. But all of us have all kinds of battles and contests in this game of life. Our recent one was paying off debt...and our debt free scream on the Dave Ramsey show this past Saturday was that Championship moment. It was fun. My endorphins were high and I'll always remember the smiles on our' faces as we screamed into the phone. And I fully expected to cry (you know how I do that during those Championship moments). But I didn't. I hung up the phone and took in the moment. The extra hours, no cable, and old cars had paid off. It was our championship moment. And we've enjoyed it. And as we get pictures and the audio from Dave's team, I'll share it here.

But as I'm sure there's an NFL commercial airing tonight will remind you...the new season starts tomorrow.

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