“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…”
The letter capped off what can only be described as a good career; a career that was a roller coaster of unforgettable highs and equally unforgettable lows. The highs elevated the lows and the lows depressed the highs and, in the end, what was left was a career with an average amount of wins and accolades.
Looking back on the letter, Charles Dickens’ words seemed very aptly applied to my athletic career. There were some spectacular highs, like an unlikely run to the Minnesota High School Basketball State Tournament that included three upsets of top-10 ranked teams. And there were some horrifying lows, like an over-active third grade bladder that unsuspectingly released its contents on first base.
The letter was written by my father after my last high school basketball game. As I think back on the letter from my father, the quote from Charles Dickens not only seems to have summed up my high school athletic career but also sums up what I’ve learned and what I love about sports.
My father, who was my high school basketball coach, used sports as a way to teach my siblings and I some of the hard truths of life that many parents struggle to teach their own kids.
A loss taught me that you won’t always win.
A rough outing on the field where my team seemed to be working against each other taught me that your only as good as those with whom you surround yourself.
A strategically timed technical foul called on my father for screaming like a maniac at a referee during a critical point in a basketball game taught me that the line between right and wrong isn’t all that defined.
A bad call by a referee that swung momentum in a game taught me that life certainly is not fair.
And the ability to look back on an average career and see it as the integral success of my life and one of the main reasons that I am the person I am today has taught me that you control the elements of life and not the other way around.
This fact has also taught me that life has an interesting ebb and flow to it. That life can be both the best of times and the worst of times at the exact same moment. That at this very second, I am a living organism who is experiencing the dying process. That life, out the depths of all the darkness, destruction and chaos, has a complex beauty and order.
Sports have taught me that an average athletic career can be, in and of itself, spectacular.
Through all these life lessons, I have found that I have come out the other side equipped with the tools to face a world that is desperately in need of good people; a world that is rife with pain, suffering and evil. It is a world that represents, in many ways, “the worst of times”.
But sports have also taught me that the seriousness of the world’s problems are far too heavy to carry without a little humor- because, seriously, it’s really damn hard not to laugh at the memory of a third grade kid peeing his pants on first base. This moment, that represents the rock bottom of an average career, can be viewed in a certain light as the “best of times”.
On TC Huddle, I hope to provide statistical insights, revelatory interviews, speculations on the future, reminiscence about the past and rants about the present. But, through my posts, I also hope that I can share my love for sports with you. I hope I can share my obsession for these events that represent a microcosm of the human spirit where one can often find the beauty of a life that is deeply intricate, contradictory and rational.
But most importantly, I hope that we can enjoy our mutual love for sports with each other.