If you’re not affected, why play sports?
Sometimes, when I walk into a locker room to interview a team after a crushing loss, I can hear it: the sniffles, the barely audible whimpering, the tears.
Sometimes, an athlete’s eyes are still puffy by the time I get to interview him or her. The tears haven’t completely dried up.
I saw it after Matanzas lost to Flagler Palm Coast in football. I saw it when each of the football teams I cover were bounced from the playoffs. More recently, I saw it when Atlantic’s boys basketball team lost to Mainland — twice.
And as long as I’m covering high school sports, I don’t think it’s something I’ll ever stop seeing.
But I don’t think that’s a bad thing, either.
I hear a variety of catchphrases from parents and coaches in these instances:
“Suck it up!”
To that, I say: Why not “let it out”?
When I see athletes who are so affected by a crushing defeat, it tells me one thing: The game meant something to them. If you’re not affected by a loss in an important game, why even play sports?
I don’t expect kids to throw a public — or even private — hissy fit. But I do expect some kind of reaction.
On a few occasions after a loss, I’ve seen athletes smile and joke around with their teammates. As a former athlete and a passionate follower of sports, I’d rather see a passionate response.