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Sports really not a life-and-death proposition

Posted: August 26, 2012 - 12:08am

I used to think that asking questions of athletes who either failed individually or as part of a team was the toughest thing in the world. Could the depths of despair be any worse?

Every so often I need a reminder that they can be.

As it happens, the wake-up call came this week. With our crack spot news reporters Jenna Martin and Valerie Rowell already out on assignment, I was left to go cover the drowning of a 3-year-old girl.

Because the address wasn’t close to our office, I didn’t arrive while paramedics and other first responders were on the scene. I saw enough anguish from witnesses there, however, to put things in perspective.

The people on the scene didn’t want to talk to me and I didn’t blame them one bit. They had just experienced the most traumatic event (hopefully) of their lives. They didn’t want to recount it to a stranger – especially to one who had not just gone through that type of experience.

When I get a quote from a losing player, it isn’t done to humiliate them or make them feel worse. It is to get their account of events that unfolded and the emotions they are experiencing.

I love sports and what they can and do represent. But ultimately they are not life-and-death. For high school students, sports can be a means to an end. They can mean a free ride or partial scholarships to a college or university. Many of us follow teams from the time we are little, and they represent a source of institutional pride. For coaches, sports may represent their livelihood.

Everybody who plays has one goal in mind: winning. Not everyone will achieve that goal.

I admit, when my team loses I can’t even watch highlights of the game. And when my team is on the field afterward, smiling, happy and talking to guys from the other team, it upsets me a little.

I guess those guys have played and experienced enough to know what I needed to be reminded of: Our personal worth shouldn’t be based on the win-loss column. The sting of losing eventually goes away.

When it’s a game.

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Comments (2)

Doug Duncan

Life

Thank you for reminding us what really matters in life. Its not whether Georgia beats Florida or the Braves make it out of the first round of the playoffs. It's about family and loved ones. Having lost a very close relative in July 2010 in an accident, (He was 21) I've seen and experience the pain upclose and personal. Still, he was not my child. The level of grief for the parents is incomprehensible. My heart aches for them. I pray God will give them peace.

Doug Duncan

Life

Thank you Scott

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