My basketball team opened its season yesterday against its hated rival, which right away presents a petty antagonism that I should be more uncomfortable with considering how much I preach Martin Buber’s I-Thou philosophy over I-It to my students. So sorry to our “hated rival” that we’re stuck in the position of making you an “It,” or this thing that we can blindly hate in order to conquer. Because competition, right?
Anyway, that unnecessary psychology aside, I’ll get right to the point: we won. For the first time in my 3 years here. We’ve finished second to them in our league for the past two years, so “beating Dublin” had become a mantra, an ultimate ambition.
And then it happened. Relatively easily. And that’s what made it unfulfilling.
We got a lot better, they got a little worse. The tide turned. When we jumped out to a 12-0 lead, after the initial excitement, I felt sad more than anything. Sad that we really didn’t get to prove anything. There wasn’t a test or an obstacle, or whatever that something is that makes victory sweet.
I’m not sure what I expected. But I do wonder: what did we lose by finally beating Dublin?