It’s just a game.
Not much annoys me more than when I’m struggling to compete and someone tries to calm me down by telling me it’s just a game. If there’s one surefire way to really piss me off, it’s to say that to me while I’m already performing poorly.
Whether it’s basketball, golf, or even just running on the treadmill, I want the best from myself every time. And if I can’t provide that, I get irritated. Irritated and angry. And to lie to my face by telling me “it’s just a game” is a direct insult.
Because it isn’t just a game. I love getting my best, and I expect to.
The Lauren Hill narrative reached the end of another chapter yesterday – what the literary world would call the climax of the story. Hill was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor in October of 2013, and doctors originally gave her two years to live.
“Two Christmases,” Lauren said was her first thought. Recently, her doctors have scaled that prediction back to this December.
Yet, she still stepped out on the court on November 2 and scored four points for Mount St. Joseph’s in the first game of the college season. Not only that, but she sacrificed countless hours of what little time she has left to participate in practices and walkthroughs just to play in a college game.
“All they can do is give me more steroids and help me through the death process. That’s the hardest and that’s why I’m at my lowest point now.”
Is basketball just a game for Lauren Hill? If you still think the answer is yes, I encourage you to watch the One More Game feature that aired on SportsCenter tonight. Hill loves basketball so much, she’s chosen to spend some of her last days training and working for the chance to play in a college basketball game. Training and working with a body that is breaking.
“There’s really nothing they can do,” Hill said. “All they can do is give me more steroids and help me through the death process. That’s the hardest and that’s why I’m at my lowest point now.”
It’s unnatural to hear an 18-year-old talking about her death.
So no, it’s not always just a game. Every time you step on the court, field, or track is a chance to express yourself and be a human – to give your all to something.
Lauren Hill’s four points won’t wow anyone through athleticism, but her tears and smiles were more inspiring than any highlight reel. How can a game bring you to tears? The truth is, for a lot of us in this world, competition is a way of life. We’re in love with it, and true love lasts a lifetime – whether it’s 50 years or just two more months.