I wasn’t the only family member last night who the game affected in this way – we all thought about my grandfather at some point and often throughout the game as evidenced by other posts on Facebook from other members of my family – my sister Sarah posted: “I’m sure Grandpa is up in heaven celebrating the UCONN girls” and my Aunt Susie posted: “I think he was sitting right by Grandma watching the game with her and cheering.”
My grandfather and I have always talked about sports my whole life, but he especially enjoyed watching and talking about the UCONN women. You would think he was a basketball analyst with the amount of stats and in-depth breakdowns of games and players he would discuss. He was a Red Sox fan and I am a Yankees fan, so we never could agree about baseball, but UCONN sports was the one sports-related topic we could agree on.
I haven’t thought about my grandfather much recently. There’s a reason they say, “Time heals all wounds.” It has been over six months since he passed and I’ve found that my thoughts aren’t constantly going to him like they did back in September and when they do it’s normally because something triggered a good memory – a sound or a smell for instance. The holidays were tough – Christmas was his favorite holiday so he was in my thoughts a lot that week. When I made the Dean’s List in my first semester in college after not being in school for almost 20 years and my grandmother told me that he would have been proud, I admit it, I cried. I wasn’t expecting that watching the game last night would have the same effect on me as the first Christmas without him did or not being able to share in an achievement with him so I was taken aback by the rush of emotions I was experiencing.
As the clock got closer to zero, the memories of my grandfather really started to take hold and the tears were starting to build. When the final buzzer sounded and UCONN had earned the title of National Champions for the eighth time, the tears finally started flowing freely. I’m sure many fans in the state of Connecticut had tears of joy flowing because of the victory but some of the tears flowing, especially in the Northwest corner of the state, were because my entire family was thinking of my grandfather at that time.
So congratulations to the UCONN women on their 8th NCAA Championship and thank you for once again bringing the memories of my grandfather flooding back. This is why I enjoy sports so much – not only is it a way to pass the time or give you something to discuss at work or with your friends, but because it can bring a family together and it can make your remember the people who are no longer in our lives.
Whenever the Yankees win I think of my mother – she’s the reason I am a Yankees fan in a family of Red Sox fans. She passed away in 2001 and when the Yankees finally won the World Series for the first time after her passing in 2009, my thoughts were of her. Now I can add the UCONN Huskies to that list. Every time they win, especially a championship, my thoughts will be of my grandfather. So here’s hoping to many more championships by both the Yankees and UCONN!