3.26.2020 – not wins or losses

not wins or losses
or how you played the game
still sports without sport

For when the One Great Scorer comes To write against your name,
He marks-not that you won or lost-
But how you played the game.

From perhaps Grantland Rice’s most famous poem, “Alumnus Football,” which he wrote for a gathering of the Vanderbilt Alumni Association in 1908.

I get up and have coffee and still start my day with the Detroit Free Press sports page.

I have been doing this at least high school days when the Free Press was delivered every morning to our house in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

The pages were filled by the writings of Joe Falls and George Puscas, Jim Hawkins, Drew Sharp and later Mitch Albom.

I read about great Michigan wins and awful to contemplate, Michigan losses.

The Tigers won and lost championships.

The Red Wings climbed out of the depths of sloth to the peaks of glory and back down again.

The Detroit Pistons ELECTRIFIED the newsprint before my eyes.

People like Bo Schembechlor, Woody Hayes, Sparky Anderson, Joe Dumars, Al Bubba Baker and David Hill filled the the columns of type.

Dexter Bussey, Billy Sims and Barry Sanders run across the pages.

I wanted to know WHO won.

I needed to know WHO lost.

I had to know the score.

I admired how they played the games.

Then the games stopped.

Then the scores stopped.

Then nobody won.

Somehow we all seem to lose.


And yet.

The sports pages are still filled.

I still turn to the sports page first.

Never thought you could have sports without sport but there you are.

As Mr. Rice also wrote:
You’ll find the road is long and rough, with soft spots far apart,
Where only those can make the grade who have the Uphill Heart.

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