I know I’m not alone. It’s been over 48 hours, and I still don’t want to see or hear about anything to do with sports. I don’t want to watch or listen to the ESPN pundits—clever, insightful, and even sympathetic as they may be. I don’t want to read about Tiger’s big victory at Bay Hill. As intriguing as that is, I don’t want to know about anyone’s athletic successes or failures. When MSN sends me to their media page after logging out of Hotmail, I briefly see a picture of Tiger’s ultra white smile outshining his newest trophy. The photo is about sports, and, subconsciously, all sports for me at this moment are linked to the NCAA basketball tournament. I avert my eyes like I’ve been slapped in the face. The North Carolina Tar Heels lost last Sunday evening to a talented Kansas Jayhawks team, and I still haven’t recovered enough emotional stability to dare expose myself to an offhand remark or careless reference to the game. It’s the pure and random injustice of it all that galls me. I want everyone to agree with me that Kansas would never have won that game had UNC not lost their Cousy Award winning point guard to a wrist injury the weekend prior. Something that never should have happened, happened. The two best teams in college basketball, Kentucky and Carolina, were supposed to meet in the finals, and now it’s not going to happen. And insult to injury, there are people in my NCAA pool (this website’s editor, in fact) that actually picked Kansas to beat the Tar Heels, and now they’re feeling vindicated, validated even, for their wisdom. Yet, it never, ever, ever would have happened if Kendall Marshall hadn’t… Such frustration and bitterness. And this arising from a fascination for a group of people, a team, with whom I have no real connection, no blood relationship. Just a sincere, cultivated affection. It’s only a basketball.
I do not understand how people who have been truly hurt by injustice, who may have actually lost a loved one through random violence or accident, are able to survive the onslaught of media attention to their very real plight. Enduring the devestation of so much promise and of a future that has been wiped clean away, they are constantly reminded of the calamity. Not just a matter of unplugging the cable or shutting down the computer, there are reporters and television trucks, neighbors and distant relatives forcing these individuals to confront their sorrow and loss. They are ceaselessly, mercilessly confronted with the source of their pain. How do they abide it?