Regardless of how seriously you take your sports, they can be therapeutic in ways you never realized, as my 2013 proved.
With a divorce and its accompanying difficulties and decisions, this year was easily the toughest of my life. Sports have very much helped me get through it all.
First, the Butler men’s basketball team. Over the past year, on the East Coast, in Florida and here, my 7-year-old son has seen a half-dozen games with me and met many of the players, as well as former coach Brad Stevens. The thoughtfulness shown by the Bulldogs in making a kid feel special, well, it’s hard for me to even put into words without welling up. They are who I wish I’d been if I’d had even a hint of their maturity at that age. They are young men who I envision my own sons growing up to be like.
I’m glad my son got to meet Stevens before he headed to Boston. On a frigid night in Philadelphia last January, Butler lost to LaSalle in a real crap-fest. After the game, Stevens came up to him, thanked him for coming, apologized for the loss and signed his ball. I won’t forget it, and neither will my son.
Second, the Indianapolis Colts. I’ve been a season ticket-holder since 2005 and covered the team for a few years, but pretty much missed the past two seasons entirely, being too far away for gameday travel. This season, it’s been great to be back in Lucas Oil Stadium watching a hard-nosed team led by another tremendous human being in Chuck Pagano.
More than the games themselves, it’s been awesome to see them and tailgate with good friends that I didn’t get to see near enough, or at all, in the five years I was gone from the area. We’ve also met a few new folks who’ll be part of the festivities for years to come.