The other day we sat as a family watching two basketball games at once. On the big screen we had the USports women’s basketball championship finals, Carleton vs Queen’s, and on the smaller screen the men’s, Carleton vs St. FX. Until the women’s game ended and we put the men’s overtime onto the big screen.
Carleton won both games, after a fashion.
In the middle of the games the kid looked over at me and said, simply, “I love sports.”
I laughed, but I understood the sentiment. A big part of me loves sports too.
There is a reason our wedding cake looked like this:
When I was in high school I became a hockey fan, and I dabbled in other sports. In my last year I did a coop placement at an athletic therapy clinic and I spent a lot of time watching a lot of sports – soccer, basketball, rugby, field hockey – and then my hockey season tickets every Friday night and some Sunday afternoons.
And then I went to journalism school determined to become a sports reporter, and I was one for a little while in a small town.
What I discovered is that stress and depression, along with being forced to analyze instead of just enjoy, can take the love out of it all.
My father died seven years ago. He was the person I went to a lot of these games with. He would find us at hockey games, I would see him at soccer and basketball. If I wanted to spend time with him, I knew exactly where to find him.
Five years ago my grandfather died. I don’t think I had finished grieving my father when I was dealt this second blow. My grandfather was the person who was always there and always proud, things that my father just wasn’t.
It’s been three years since the world went into crisis mode. Three years ago I left work for two weeks.
Along with the pandemic, it feels as though our family has been dealt blow after blow and my mental health has not withstood it all.
But heading out onto the field to watch my kid play soccer, or into the gym to watch my kid play basketball, or taking them to a game we can enjoy together, that lifts me up. Knowing I’m on leave from work to do a bit of recovery and thinking maybe I’ll fill out a bracket and follow March Madness again.
The optimism that I might be getting some of that sports love back, lifts me up a bit.
We have tickets to see the WBNA game coming to Toronto in May and I’m planning to be very excited about it.