Don’t let sports make you cynical

Published 9:29 am Friday, November 7, 2014

My friends and I have a phrase that I’m sure countless groups across the country have in regard to sports.

And I know it’s here, too. Being at a few volleyball games lately where the outcome didn’t go as expected, some of the players could be overheard saying, “Oh well. It’s basketball season.”

As someone from the Deep South, in football I rooted for the New Orleans Saints and the Ole Miss Rebels. Not long into the season, we could often be overheard to declare, “It’s basketball season.” Then when basketball season soured, it would become baseball season.

And finally, when baseball season went south it became football season. And the cycle would continue. Such is the life of a fan base with consistently bad teams.

Now, for myself, it’s just cynical. For the volleyball players, they likely mean it literally in that they will also be on the basketball team. And tryouts will be happening next week for many of them, with practice starting not long after that.

Hopefully, they don’t also mean it cynically because many of the area volleyball teams had good regular seasons. The conference tournaments just didn’t go very well. And to add, many were in rebuilding years having lost key seniors. Despite that, some area teams earned high seeding in conference tournaments. That’s a good thing.

Volleyball is something that has been growing in the area, and a few years down the road I expect it to be a much bigger deal and for Western Tidewater’s teams to be really competitive.

Regardless of the outcome, getting a chance to play high school sports is still a great thing. It builds camaraderie and helps improve team skills. Those stay with you whether you play in college or not, and it’ll be a helpful skill your whole life, no matter what you are doing with your career.

And now that it is almost basketball season, hopefully they give it all to that until it’s softball season.


The Auburn game wasn’t going to be something I was going to talk about, but then I had several people mention it. For several years, we’ve been finding the worst possible ways to lose. See the Mississippi State game last year, and the Texas A&M game the year before that.

This year, I think Ole Miss has found it: Lose the best player on your team while trying to score what could have been the winning touchdown.

It’s a game we should have won, but sometimes football is about luck. If his ankle doesn’t come down that way, he probably doesn’t fumble. If our quarterback doesn’t fumble earlier trying to go for everything on a down when he doesn’t have to, then we may not be in a position to have to put it all out there on the goal line to get that score. And if the referees had blown the whistle when Auburn had 12 men on the field during a scoring drive, the quarterback may have not gone for it when he didn’t have to. It’s the way football goes sometimes, and Auburn still may have found a way to win even if all of those things had gone differently.

Now, without a lot of help, we’re probably out of the national playoff picture. And that’s OK — we should still get a good bowl game, which will be an upgrade from last year. If you had asked me about potentially going 8-4 at the beginning of the season, I would have taken it.

Going 10-2 or 9-3 would be even better, but that’s going to require beating Arkansas and/or Mississippi State. That’s not out of the question, but it’s going to be a lot tougher without our best player, particularly with our struggles in the running game this year.

But no matter how the season goes from here, you won’t hear me saying, “It’s basketball season.” That is, until it actually is basketball season (or if we lose to Presbyterian).

CAIN MADDEN is the managing editor of The Tidewater News. He can be reached at 562-3187 or