Last night I was watching the Elite Eight match-up of Louisville vs. Duke. Since my bracket(s) had been beyond busted, I was just routing for good basketball. That is until – Kevin Ware’s leg snapped as he came down from an attempted block. Though I have participated in sports for most of my life, coached on a number of levels and am currently a massage therapist, no physical or anatomical training prepared me for that. I have a hard time handling those moments. The collapsing reaction of his teammates painted a pretty strong picture of the pain as well. ESPN writes about it here and many other have thrown in their two cents also; here are mine.
In the moment that the young man went down, I took a side. I wanted to see Louisville overcome the psychological toll of this blow and win the game; win the next two as well to become National Champions. You could see the emotion of Russ Smith and Gorgui Dieng in the way they played that second half. This is because then – that one win, winning for Ware, meant more to them than their initial goal of reaching the Final Four.
“Basically, the bone popped out of the skin. It broke in two spots,” Pitino said. “Remember the bone is six inches out of his leg, and all he’s yelling is ‘Win the game, win the game.’ I’ve never seen anything like that.” I found that quote in above-linked article from ESPN, it brought tears to my eyes.
Kevin Ware’s injury reminds us that our lives and bodies are far more important than a game. Louisville showed us that a team’s love for a teammate means more than a trophy. With this in mind, I proceed into the Final Four without hopes of a certain team winning it all or upsetting a giant or busting a bracket, but now just want to see good basketball, safety of all involved and a similar emotional commitment to the game that Louisville showed us on Sunday night.