This week began another basketball season. I love basketball.
I attended my first basketball game when I was five or six years old. I have not missed attending a game every year since. That would now be 65 years.
This week as I sat in the stands watching the beginning of another season, it made me think about the players, coaches and the fans. As I drove home that night I thought about a speech once made by Teddy Roosevelt. I don’t know if Roosevelt liked basketball or not or if he ever attended a game; but he said something in a political speech that I think has application to sports and the role of players and fans.
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better.
The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena;
Whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood;
Who strives valiantly, who errs, and who comes short
Again and again.
Who knows the great enthusiasm the great devotions;
And who spends himself in a worthy cause;
Who at best knows at the end, triumph;
Who at worst, if he fails, at least fails while doing greatly;
So that his place will never be with those cold and timid souls
Who neither know victory or defeat.
More fans should remember two things: one, the arena in which they are sitting, and two, that they are in the bleachers.
November 1, 2013