As witnessed this past Monday night in the NCAA basketball championship game, it takes only a few seconds for a player, team and an entire fan base to experience quite the twist of fate.
It seems almost unfair. But such is the unfortunate reality in sports, everyone isn’t guaranteed a happy ending.
For example, following North Carolina’s loss Monday night at the buzzer to Villanova, yours truly was asked whether I was all right in the wake of what was a heartbreaking defeat. Though easy to be stoic in defeat and say the right things, the pain was tough at times to stomach.
Heck, watching SportsCenter hasn’t been easy for the past week. In time, all wounds heal – though never completely or entirely.
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With that said, the emotions expressed by athletes at the amateur level can often prove to be a breath of fresh air, and often can cause diehard fans to feel many of the same things – from extreme heartbreak, sadness and distress to the purest form of exhilaration.
Unfortunately, in professional athletics such forms of expression and emotion are relegated to the locker room, away from the camera’s lens and the reporter’s pen and pad.
I don’t have an answer for why that is … maybe it’s the effect of selfishness and greed, or what happens when you know there are millions to be counted at home.
Nevertheless, there are still titles to be competed for and won … and we’re entering a time where it seems hardware is being presented every week.
As we enter into April and May, steadily approaching the proverbial dog days of summer, we’re also creeping ever closer to a time of year coined “Championship Season.”
In the next few months, a bevy of titles will be handed out. Among the events that are part of this time of year:
▪ The NBA playoffs, which begin this weekend;
▪ The NHL’s Stanley Cup Playoffs, often described as North America’s most passionate postseason tournament, begins this week;
▪ Tennis’ best will head to Roland Garros in Paris and the hallowed grass courts of Wimbledon to compete for two of the sport’s most hallowed titles;
▪ With the Masters now in the rear view, all roads now lead to the U.S. Open tournament, this year scheduled to take place at Oakmont Country Club in Plum, Pa., in June;
▪ Fresh off the first Triple Crown winner in more than three decades, the Kentucky Derby raises the curtain on another season for lovers of horse racing and gamblers alike. Over the course of a month’s span, dreams of a Triple Crown are made or shattered at the Preakness or the Belmont Stakes.
While horse racing, tennis and golf’s cherished events hold the attention of the American sports fan for a few weeks or a month, playoff season for the NBA and NHL will become part of our daily schedules, chock full of moments even the average fan cannot bear to miss.
If there is a negative for hockey and basketball, it is that the postseason drags so unmercifully, starting in April and concluding in mid-June. Still, I’d rather have it than nothing at all.
After opening with the Frederick Keys, the Myrtle Beach Pelicans continue their homestand with a three-game set against Winston-Salem. … Coastal Carolina’s baseball team hopes to avenge a pair of hard-fought losses to College of Charleston on Tuesday night when it hosts the Cougars at Springs Brooks Stadium. First pitch is at 6 p.m. Later in the week, the Chanticleers will host Presbyterian in a key three-game set. … The spring sports schedule is heading down the home stretch, with several teams in the mix for region titles. Carolina Forest (Region VI-AAAA), St. James (Region VII-AAA) and Aynor (Region VIII-AA) lead their respective baseball leagues, while the Aynor softball team continues to be the talk of this area, remaining undefeated for the season. Soccer, track and lacrosse races also are worth the attention.