Athletics take back seat to family

Matt Peters' view

Thoughts of the relevance of sports began spinning in my mind Saturday night.

I was talking to Athletic Director Laing Kennedy and Athletics Communications Director Jeff Schaefer after the men’s basketball game. The specific conversation was about the murder of Kent State student and former gymnastics student trainer Sarah Positano.

Schaefer said it perfectly when he said the loss of Positano adds perspective to sports. On one hand, the men’s basketball team had pulled off a third consecutive win; on the other, a senseless murder had been committed.

I learned of Positano’s death just minutes before Saturday’s basketball game and spent much of the rest of the game thinking about it. I honestly could not believe what I was hearing. I last saw her Wednesday in my coaching soccer class wearing a Kent State gymnastics shirt.

The dual nature of sports is a tricky thing. As a sports writer it is my job to ask questions of coaches and players. Sometimes we nitpick over minute aspects of a game. Asking why the Flashes went 11:38 without a field goal seemed almost pointless with the events of the day still fresh in my mind.

In the last week, Kent State men’s basketball coach Jim Christian has simply replied, “That’s basketball,” to some of the Flashes’ struggles. While Kent State certainly hasn’t played perfect ball, they have gotten the job done in the end.

It sounds like such a simple answer, yet it’s hard to accept at the same time. Shouldn’t there be some breakdown of the Flashes’ play provided? Should we be looking at all combinations of X and O possibilities? Eventually I’ve started to find my own meaning in what Christian said.

Sports are not always about rebounds.

In recent days, I began to think about what the greater importance of sports has been to me. Beyond the statistics — and far past extravagant touchdown dances — is the idea of family.

One of the reasons why sports have a tendency to put life in perspective is because when an event like this happens we realize how little the wins really mean. We agonize over our team’s wins and losses, but in the end it isn’t the most important thing. What is more important is that there are people who support and are there for each other.

I will never forget when my mom passed away while I was a senior in high school and nearly all of my high school hockey teammates and coaches showed up at her viewing, during winter break nonetheless. That to me is family, and it meant more to me than words could have expressed.

All too frequently, we are reminded that the ultimate goal is winning. Winning, however, lasts for one day. Families last forever.

Contact sports editor Matt Peters at [email protected].