Sports, Writing and Life

Ann H Gabhart Ann's Posts, One Writer's Journal

I’ve been a University of Kentucky basketball fan almost as long as I’ve been a writer. When I was about twelve, I got one of those little transistor radios. We thought they were quite the trick. You didn’t have to plug them in. You just had to have batteries. Then I could hold it up to my ear and turn my head this or that direction and get a pretty good signal. You young folks won’t understand that, but you older folks will. I had to position the radio to catch those radio waves. And then I could listen to the UK ballgames. As well as I remember nobody else in my family listened to the games, but I loved hearing Cawood call the action. In my mind, I could see the players running up and down the court, racing out on fast breaks, making baskets, winning. I don’t remember any of Rupp’s championships. I do remember the year we thought they were going to win and then all the players had the flu or something when they got to the Final Four. I’m not like some fans who can name every player and the year they played. But I did enjoy listening.

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As to why I started listening, who knows? None of my family had ever gone to the university – to any university. But in Kentucky, if you weren’t from Louisville and sometimes even if you were, you pulled for the Cats. I’ve heard lots of theories of why, but I think we just love basketball. We cheer for those little mountain town teams that go to the state tournament and pull off upsets. We never forget the guys who score like there’s no tomorrow on their way to the state championship. We need winners. The UK basketball team was a winner then and now too.

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This year’s team is in Houston at the Final Four. I filled out a bracket and put them all the way to the championship, but to be perfectly honest, I never thought they’d get past two games. That may be why it’s so much fun to see them there. Last year we were expecting it. This year every win has been a hard fought treat. So I’ve got on my UK shirt and I’m ready to sweat through another game on Saturday.

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And of course I devour the newspaper articles about the team because that’s part of the fun. I don’t do the internet sites. There are only so many hours in the day and I’ve got a book to finish editing and another one to write. So as much as I like the Cats, I can’t spend all my time checking out what the latest predictions or rumors are out there now.

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In the paper a week or so ago, the reporters were asking Brandon Knight – after the game where he missed every shot except the last one that won the game – if he was worried about shooting. Knight was as unflappable as ever even with all those microphones shoved in his face. He simply told them that he never lost confidence in his shot. That after a bad game he went in the gym for extra practice shooting, but he knew he had a good shot and the next time it would fall. Wayne Gretzky, the great hockey player once said, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”

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That doesn’t only apply to basketball or hockey although it’s certainly true about those two sports. But you know what? It also applies to writing. I don’t know how many people have told me that they “always wanted to write a book.” I tell them that there are no age limitations for writers, and they smile and say maybe someday. But you know if you never take that shot, you’ll never know if you can score or not. I started shooting stories at the writing goal a long time ago, but there have been plenty of times I have thought I shouldn’t take another shot. But I kept taking my shots and eventually I got my game day legs and was able to win the game. Or maybe I should say the quarter or the play, because the game’s not over yet. I’m hoping to have time for a few more winning shots at the goal.

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Anything we do in life is like that. We have to step to the line and take our shot. And when we miss, we have to jump right back in the game and give it another try.

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How about you? Are any of you sports fans? Do you ever relate the game of life to sports? Oh yeah, and go Big Blue. I’ll either be extra happy Sunday when I come back to visit or saying wait till next year. 🙂