Asking the tough questions
It’s not often sports causes me to ponder the deeper questions in life, but that’s exactly what happened on Tuesday night.
Hours after Gardner-Webb’s 69-62 loss to Eastern Kentucky in the opening round of the C.I.T., I was still tossing and turning in my bed wondering what might have been. Would GWU have gone on to erase a 15-point second-half deficit had Corey Walden not banked in a 3-pointer with under a minute left to beat the shot clock? Might the sadness of defeat been replaced by the celebration of victory if Kevin Hartley’s ensuing 3-point attempt had found the bottom of the net instead of popping out?
Pondering those questions led to deeper ones. If I had not been born with a disability, what would my life be like? Would I be married and have a home and family of my own instead of living with my parents? If I was “normal,”, might I, at this very moment be writing the next column for Sports Illustrated instead of the Daily Courier? Who knows, I could have even been the star athlete a reporter comes to cover had things turned out differently.
As the clock hit 3:30 a.m., my questions turned to anger both over the ball game and my situation.
“It’s not fair,” I thought. “GWU has worked too hard and come too far to have the season end like this. They deserve better than this. I wish I could have done something to help them.”
Then my musings went in a darker direction. “Who am I kidding? I can’t even help myself do a lot of things most people do every day. I can’t drive a car, much less drive to the basket. Life is so unfair.”
After my anger subsided, I began to check my Ipad for a press release from Marc Rabb saying that EKU had an ineligible player and that the Bulldogs’ season would miraculously continue. None came.
Thanks to my college psychology courses and the fact that I own all eleven seasons of Frasier, I realized I was going through the grieving process. I was in denial, not only for the end of GWU’s season, but also for what my life could have been. I won’t bore
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readers with the details of the other three stages, but they were there.
Although there were many factors that helped me move to the final stage of acceptance, there were two that allowed me to sleep, the Bible and Star Trek. As strange as this combination may sound, it really worked.
First, I remembered Jeremiah 29:11 which says, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Then I thought of the Star Trek episode, “City on the Edge of Forever”. In this episode, Captain Kirk, Spock, and Dr. McCoy go back in time to 1930’s San Francisco. While there, McCoy saves the life of pacifist Edith Keeler. Keeler then goes on to found a peace movement that delays the USA’s entry into WWII, allowing Germany to win. This, of course, has disastrous consequences on the future and Kirk must make the tough choice to let Keeler die in order to restore the normal timeline.
What if I had not been born with Cerebral Palsy? I doubt I would have caused or prevented a war, but my life would have been different. I think my disability has played a huge part in developing my passion for sports.
Without C.P., that passion may not exist and that is hard to fathom. I can’t imagine not spending hours poring over brackets before making my final selections just before noon today. What if I no longer had the desire to wear body paint or yell at officials at a GWU game? I shudder at the thought.
Without a disability, I probably wouldn’t be in Rutherford County covering the exploits of the outstanding athletes we have here. I could be caught up in the corporate world with no hope of escape.
Yes, my life would be different with no disability, but would it better? I don’t think so.