Last night. We lost to a team that was 0-5 in our league last night. I could kinda feel it coming. To me, they didn't play like an O-for team.
Last night was the first time I've slept soundly after a game in a long time and I really can't explain it. Maybe it was seeing another Coach and team have genuine excitement after a win versus relief. Some of you know what I mean. The joy of winning has been replaced with the relief that we didn't lose.
After the game, I was able to speak to the 3 officials and thank them for working. Visited with 5 College Coaches in attendance, Spoke to the Head Coach and his wife-tell them how happy I was for them and actually mean it. Spoke to their Athletic Director who always has words of wisdom for me.
Today started off like most Wednesdays. I opened my laptop to start on the next game. This morning I open my email and I have an email from a student in my class. She is on the debate/forensics team. They have a competition this Friday night. They need judges for these. I'm guessing she was instructed by her sponsor to ask her teachers if they'd like to volunteer; so she did.
My first reaction was "how crazy is it to ask a basketball Coach to be a judge knowing that we have a game?!" But then it hit me. She doesn't know. Probably doesn't care.
If you're reading this, you're probably a basketball person. Half of you reading this lost last night. The other half won. And She doesn't care. Honestly, a lot of people outside our bubble don't. That's a hard truth for Coaches because of our ego but the hard line fact is this:
Not as many people care as we think do or hope they to.
Too many of us allow outcome decide our feelings about this game. If we got into just to win, either we have never lost or have no clue how this thing works.
I love the competition. I love teaching basketball. I don't know how much I love coaching basketball in this day and age but I do know I still love the game of basketball. I love it enough to find joy for another Coach in my own loss.
As for my student, If I could get out of my game on Friday night I would. Because without knowing it, even though she didn't know or doesn't care about basketball, She taught me a lesson about basketball and life. It's bigger than a game and a lot bigger than the outcome.
Everything feels different. We lost an icon and not just in the sports world.
You see, my generation has gotten to experience MJ, Kobe and LeBron all in their primes.
But to me, Kobe is my generation.
I can see him standing there in a suit, sunglasses on his head saying he was going to the NBA and thinking, "This guy is crazy."
I was right.
He was crazy enough to do it and succeed at a level no one could imagine. He gave those of us in this age bracket incredible courage to try anything and entertained us for 20 years. You either loved or hated him and that's how he preferred it. Everyone had an opinion on Kobe. I loved him. He was different. I tried to capture it here.
As the stories keep coming and you hear and witness the impact he had on people from stardom to everyday life, You know he was different. In everything.
I grew up with Kobe. We are the same age. I never met him which is a void in my basketball life I wish I could replace. But more than I miss watching him play, I'm going to miss watching him be a Dad.
Sunday was hard. I kept hoping it was a hoax. Bad information. Even when it was confirmed, I still didn't believe it. I watched him walk off the floor with a blown Achilles. He was the most invincible person I'd ever seen. Things weren't over until he said they were over. That's how I saw him.
There won't be a day go by for a long time we aren't reminded of him.
Here's hoping he inspires my generation in other ways:
Here's wishing the next President of the United States comes from my generation with a Mamba Mentality.
To the scientist researching a cure for cancer, Alzheimer's, and every other incurable disease-attack it like Kobe would. Keep being Relentless.
Don't let a day pass without making things right with everyone you care about.
I hope this Wednesday morning you have a little different perspective. As for Kobe, Thanks for the memories and the example.