“A Toast to the College World Series”

The World Cup has actually been more interesting to me this year without the United States. I think I’m able to better enjoy the sport when I don’t have a vested interest in the outcome. And just this morning Paul George informed the Thunder he would opt out of his deal, igniting in my brain wild speculation about the Lakers trading for Kawhi Leonard, thus attracting LeBron James, and then signing Paul George — all to play around Lonzo Ball (who had better not shoot anything deeper than a layup), and returning the Lakers to their glory. And, of course, as a Nebraskan, I sit quietly excited about this coming football season, informing anyone who will listen that if Scott Frost doesn’t commit a felony then Husker Nation had better shut up and let him do his job for the duration of his decade-long contract. We won four games last year. If we win five this season — especially with our brutal road schedule, I want to see dancing in the streets.

God I love sports. For the same reason that I love wine and fishing, I love sports. It’s a release. It’s not life and death. My job is to help ensure that a generation of people is literate, also compassionate, and can critically think. That’s heavy. It’s the most important job in the world in my opinion. So, naturally, I need a release, and the Huskers/Lakers/Chiefs have always been that form me.

Last night, after we watched a few episodes of The Office, Sonja and I flipped on game two of the College World Series. Had Arkansas * caught a fly ball earlier in the game, they’d be CWS champions this morning… but they didn’t. And after that unforced error, the Oregon Beavers drove in several runs. We watched the bottom of the ninth inning, watched Oregon win, and smiled. The parody of sport is an amazing phenomenon, and suddenly there’s a game three tonight, just like that.

Our house guests this week are Oregon Beavers fans, and after that game it donned on me that, were this my Huskers, I’d be beside myself with joy and simultaneously sick to my stomach in anticipation of the next and final game. I figured they could use a celebration, so I ran downstairs and left this out for them:

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This morning when I woke up and went downstairs to make some coffee, I found this:

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Sports bring people together in much the same way wine can. We have friends staying with us tonight, in town from Chicago. If we didn’t I’d probably try to go to game three, not because I’m a fan of either team, but just to take in the sheer spectacle of it. I know TDA Park will be a magical place tonight, full of elation for one team and millions of fans, heartbreak for another and all of theirs. May the best team wine… er… win!

Cheers to sport,

Mark

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