I’ve never been the person who wanted to stay the same age before. I’ve always wanted to be a grown up – get married, have kids, settle down. I’m always looking ahead, always planning for the next big life event and I’ve never really wanted to go back in time.
Until March 17.
After Murray State’s loss to Marquette in the third round of the NCAA Tournament I wanted to go back in time when the Racers had only one loss and stay in the season of 31 wins forever.
Although I still haven’t processed it all, the few months of covering the record-setting Racers – in what could arguably be the best season of Murray State basketball – will reside in my heart as some of the best moments of college and maybe my life.
A few hours after the loss, on our way home from Louisville, Editor-in-Chief Elizabeth Johnson and I were listening to our “NCAA Roadtrippin’’’ playlist when Jay-Z’s “Young Forever” started thumping in our speakers, a stark contrast to Jason Mraz’s “I Won’t Give Up” from seconds earlier.
At that moment, “Without a wrinkle in today ‘cause there’s no tomorrow just a picture perfect day that lasts a whole lifetime and it never ends ‘cause all we have to do is hit rewind,” I did want to be forever young. I didn’t want to think about being a senior or graduation coming up or the fact that I had watched the group of seniors I love so much play their final game as collegiate basketball players.
I wasn’t done writing their stories.
On my desktop rests the folder shown the most love on my computer. The “stories in progress” folder where more than six unfinished stories on the beloved Racer basketball team were housed until I could devote enough time to finish them before the season ended.
But now, the stories aren’t timely or appropriate and all I want to do is just write one more. Watch one more game and stay in the historic season of Racer basketball forever.
That night, with Jay-Z playing the soundtrack to our sorrow, I wanted to go back to the Monday afternoon interviews with the team before practice when I struggled to come up with new story ideas because they just kept winning.
I wanted to go back to when I cried because they won their 23rd straight game (24th if you count the exhibition game) and because Coach Prohm was shedding tears of joy in the locker room after his team clinched the OVC regular season title with a win over SEMO, not because the season ended.
However, some of the tears were selfish as I realized it was my last game, too. As a senior it was my last game as Sports Editor, my last game to watch from press row, my last time to interview the guys or have locker room access, my last press conference with Coach Prohm, the last time to see Donte, Ivan and Jewuan on the court, the last game as a college student.
Despite the sadness of the season ending a little earlier than anyone would have liked (except maybe Marquette), this team has brought together the University, Murray and the state in a uniting force and have forever left an impact on countless hearts, mine included. I’m so proud of them.
Despite his eyes being wet with tears, Ivan shared profound words from his cherished head coach in the locker room following the Marquette game:
“Coach Prohm told us to keep on working and don’t give up, just have our wall protected, especially us seniors,” Aska said. “We’ve just got to stay on our wall and I’ve got a new chapter, Donte’s got a new chapter and Jewuan.”
This is the start of a new chapter for each of them and a new chapter for each of us. However, we can’t start a new chapter if we keep re-reading the old one.
We can’t live off past victories and past “failures” will consume and define us only if we let them. We can’t help others and identify with them through pain if we don’t first experience some ourselves, just as we can’t move on to a new section of our wall if we keep looking at the section we just built.
So, I’m going to take Coach Prohm’s advice and stay on my wall with my eyes up, eagerly anticipating the next chapter God will write in the story of my life. It’s a new day and a new journey that brings with it a new adventure waiting to be experienced.
Let’s not be so caught up in the last adventure that we miss the one right in front of us. May we always learn from the past and look to the future but live contently in the present.