Most people who read this blog probably don’t give a hoot about hoops and I’m not a big sports fan in the way most Americans (especially men) who watch baseball, football and basketball (or hockey) are. But most of my family watches Jayhawk basketball like a religion, so I watch when I spend time with my family (like this past week) and I usually get sucked-in, particularly when there’s a good game. Jayhawk basketball is like a cult on top of the sport and it includes a great deal of ritual as well as thrills.
Last night, the Kansas Jayhawks upset the #1 team in NCAA basketball, Florida. Most of the game, Kansas was ahead of Florida except at the very beginning and the very end. Then the teams tied and the game went into overtime during which the Jayhawks squeaked by and barely won. It was nail-biting and suspenseful, like a really good film.
I didn’t watch the whole game because I was back home unpacking from our Thanksgiving trip to Kansas, but I found myself glued to the TV for the last part of the game and it reminded me why sports metaphors are useful – it’s a universal subject most people understand and can associate with on some level, even if they’re not sports fans. We’ve all been to a game once upon a time and we’ve seen that the underdog always has a chance, hard work and teamwork pays off, perseverance is important, and it’s never until the bitter end. These are good lessons for everyone to see in action now and then.