My Dad’s Love of the Game
I am not a sports fan. Never have been. Except for a couple of years in the late 80’s when I suddenly became obsessed with the Lakers playing in the championship. I had no ties, ever, to LA or California but was, inexplicably, very invested in their winning. I thought Magic Johnson was the best player of all time. Not because he was a big shooter, but because he was so good at assists and was indirectly responsible for so many points. I still stand by this.
I watch March Madness, but only if there is a local college in play. I may watch the ACC tournament if my alma mater is playing. And I always, always watch the University of Louisville (my school) play the University of Kentucky in basketball every year, the Saturday between Christmas and New Year’s Day.
I am not a football fan. Never watched a Super Bowl. As dedicated as I have been to catching the UL/UK basketball game every year, the only time I ever cared about the football game was in 2019. It was the Saturday after Thanksgiving. I found out the previous week that my dad was diagnosed with esophageal cancer.
I did not watch the game. Had I been at home, I would have. But, I went out to eat with a good friend. She and I almost share a birthday and, in college, would go out to eat together every year to celebrate. Life and adulthood had gotten in the way. We had not done this in a couple of decades, but since I stayed in town to go to my dad’s oncologist appointment instead of to my husband’s hometown for the holiday, she and I met for lunch.
Like my dad, I have always considered myself to be a person of science and reason. I am not what anyone would consider religious. And I am certainly not superstitious. So, I was very taken aback when the bargaining stage had kicked in. Against all logic, I had a lot riding on this game.
My dad was a fan of UL football. And Louisville was the favorite to win, by a lot. I had convinced myself that if they won the game (which, luckily, was a near certainty) that he would be ok. As Holly and I were eating and talking, I kept my ears open for anyone talking about the game. We live in a basketball state, so I did not get to hear much. The few people who cared were home…