Not about scores, but emotions

By: Matthew Worsham – Asst. Opinions Editor

On Saturday, I learned why we write about sports.

Not the practical “why,” as in “why do we write about sports,” but what I would say is the more subjective “why should we write about sports.” What I mean is that I think Saturday night proved why, in the grand scheme of society, “sport” as a topic deserves a place in our written record. I had it wrong the whole time. It’s not about the game. It’s about the people.

Until this weekend, I never understood what sports could do. Sure, they’re fun, and on a personal level, they have provided some amazing opportunities for growth to myself and others. Then again, so have travel and cooking and work and so many other pursuits. But we don’t write about those the way we write about sports.

What I’ve felt for the last week and a half, culminating in what I witnessed on Saturday night across the Ghetto, changed everything.

I will always remember the rush I felt, watching on the TV at work with a University of Dayton alumnus on Thursday, when the Flyer defense stopped the Buckeyes short of making a game-winning bucket and sent us to the second round of the big dance.

I’ll remember marveling, bolting upright in my chair at a friend’s house on Stonemill, the moment I realized we could beat Syracuse. I will remember the tension in the final seconds of that game that seemed to stretch the seconds into hours, which snapped with a buzzer and cheers across campus.

I felt these things, and other people throughout the UD community felt them too. Why we reacted in this way to a team from our school scoring a few more points a little faster than the other team did escapes me, but I don’t care anymore.
What’s important is that for seemingly no practical reason at all, it produced an emotion, and that’s an amazing thing.

In 10 years, the score from Saturday’s game won’t matter. I’d argue it didn’t matter the moment the buzzer rang and students raised their voices in celebration.

What do matter now are the feelings that the win generated.

The pictures of the men’s basketball team, our classmates, celebrating on the court after the buzzer, and the look of genuine excitement on their faces. Freshman guard Kyle Davis standing over his teammate, senior forward Devin Oliver, shaking him as if to prove he wasn’t dreaming. Those images matter.

The joyfulness of the celebration on campus, as what seemed like the entire neighborhood rushed into the streets, and the friendliness of complete strangers, more so even than on move-in weekend. That built community, and that matters.

The knowing smiles of the alumni spending the evening on campus, taking comfort in the familiarity of the scene and relieved by its peacefulness. Those feelings matter.

President Dan Curran, stepping out of a student’s car in the thick of the crowd on Kiefaber, students lifting him into the air as they chanted “Dr. Dan! Dr. Dan!” That act, that show of solidarity, matters.

What matters is that we felt these things, and we felt them together. That’s community building in the purest sense.
It’s not about who wins or loses but about how those outcomes make people feel and the memories that they create.

Why do we care about a game? I don’t know. But we write about it because we do.