Sports Have Turned Dark for Me
Everyone that knows our family, knows that sports are a huge part of our life.
Misty and I both played sports as kids and in high school. Misty was an incredible athlete and played volleyball in college. Both Misty and I are huge baseball fans. We have always enjoyed basketball, football, tennis, volleyball, gymnastics, the Olympics and many other kinds of sports.
After we became parents, we encouraged our kids to play sports. We have always believed that sports, particularly team sports, teaches kids critical life skills. We also get tons of enjoyment out of watching our children play sports - win or lose. But, if I am being honest, watching them win is more fun. :)
We have spent countless hours taking our kids to baseball practice, volleyball games, gymnastics workouts, basketball tryouts, soccer games, flag-football practices, tennis lessons, and the list goes on. If we added it all up, I bet a significant part of our lives as parents have been spent going to and from, preparing for or watching sporting events with our children.
Then there is sports as entertainment. There is no doubt that ESPN is the most watched TV channel at our house. We have season tickets to the Dallas Mavericks and the Texas Rangers. The Dallas Cowboys are must-see-TV at our house. The New York Yankees are a favorite in our family. We love watching the Golden State Warriors play. March Madness is almost a holiday in our family. I would listen to ESPN radio every morning on my way into work. I could honestly go on and on about how much sports we consume.
Out of everyone in our family, Shawn Jr was likely the biggest sports fan. First, Jr was a terrific athlete. He played baseball and basketball as a kid and was always one of the strongest players. He loved to compete. Shawn was a rabid sports fan. He followed everything - basketball, baseball, football, hockey, tennis, golf, and many other sports. Shawn was a bigger baseball fan than I am. Shawn Jr would turn on a random July, Astros and Athletics game, just because he loved watching baseball. What 21 year old kid does that? Shawn would never miss a Cowboys game. Most of all, Shawn Jr loved the Mavericks. He had MFFL (Mavs Fan For Life) engraved into his Apple Airpods. Don’t even get me started on how much he liked Luka. That fandom was epic.
So why am I writing about sports? Well, something has happened for me. Sports was once one of the things in life that gave me the most joy. Now, when I get an alert from ESPN on my iPhone, it makes me sad. You see, when big events would happen in the sports world, the first (and sometimes only) person I would talk to about it was Shawn Jr. He was always the one that was excited and shared my same passion for sports. Now when I get that alert from ESPN, I am lost and sad. When the Mavericks schedule came out last week, I cried. On my first day driving into work after Shawn Jr died, I turned on ESPN radio for my normal morning commute. After about 5 minutes, I had to turn it off. They were discussing Ezekiel Elliott’s holdout and contract discussions. All I could think about is how I wanted to talk to Shawn Jr about all of this. It just hurt.
One of the brightest lights of happiness in my life is now a source of pain. I hope this changes over time. But for right now, sports have turned dark for me.