One of my Dad’s most famous lines is “I’m always going to be your Dad”. It is true, no matter how old I get in life I can never escape his relentless wisdom-isms.  Although annoying at times I always appreciate it. Sure there are plenty of times he is totally off base, or other times when I am too stubborn for anyone’s advise and I completely ignore him. Nevertheless what he says perpetually sticks.  “Never go on a date with a boy that honks” “Be nice to your sister” “Don’t harden your heart” “Be the first to apologize” The best peice of advise he has ever bestowed upon me and the one that always is going through my head is, “Dont sweat the small stuff” You can get so caught up in all the little things that go wrong, or all the things you have no control over. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that I didn’t always(still don’t at times) take this advise. I am a worrier. I always have to know all the outcomes just incase. But in some instances I think it is good, not for my sleep by any means but, when the unexpected happens I am ready. Other times sweating the small stuff can keep you from enjoying life.

Have you ever had a paradigm shift? The first time I heard of paradigm shifts it came from no one other than my Dad. He made us all sit down and watch Stephen Covey and one of his 7 Habits seminars. At 14ish I rolled my eyes during the whole thing. Sure a few of his points made sense to me but the Paradigm Shift was silly. No way am I ever going to think differently than I do, especially in the kind of way Mr. Covey insisted. Well little did I know I was going to have a huge Paradigm Shift, it just wouldn’t come for a good 12 years or so. Not to say that I haven’t had one before that, for instance I went from not wanting any kids to wanting a house full. There have been many, many paradigm shifts since I was 14 but none of them compare to the one I have had recently, and it was due in part to my Dad’s famous advise…..  Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff. 

For those of you readers that don’t already know, this past basketball season at the University of Utah wasn’t one of our best. Whoops, I apologize, for breaking my own-No Sugar Coating- rule. In all honesty it was one of our worst. We didn’t win a single away game and we suffered our worst loss in the history of Ute Basketball, losing by 46 points. It was bad. We have struggled in the past few years, but this season was worse. It also was the best basketball season I have ever had. I have season tickets and I made it to every game I could. (2 games I was sick and 1 was my son’s birthday.)  This season I put nearly 1,500 miles on my vehicle, spent at least 40 hours in traffic commuting to the Huntsman Center and back, and took around 24 pain pills just to watch us most likely lose. I loved every second of it. Every loss, was a great time, our few wins were like winning the lottery. People thought I was crazy. My Dad, still cant grasp it. What is the point? How can you possibly have fun watching your team lose week after week? How can you leave your family all those times, spend forever in traffic, kill  yourself in the process without anything to show for it? Well I will answer that for y’all, I will share my secret with all you grumbling Ute fans and the rest of you. Here it is: I don’t Sweat the Small Stuff. 

As a sports fanatic I can tell you sometimes nothing hurts worse than a loss by your favorite team, and nothing feels better than a win. I’ve witnessed plenty of both, and that statement is so true. But I can honestly say winning and losing is definately Small Stuff .  I give you the Sugar Bowl for an example. In 2009 when the Utes went to the Sugar Bowl I went too. I went all the way to New Orleans alone, no family, no best friend, just me and a bunch of Ute fans I sorta knew. It was an experience I will cherish forever and I even made some life time friends on that trip. However, when Utah smacked Alabama in the mouth and won the game handily I was in tears. Here was the greatest victory I had every witnessed in person and my Dad wasn’t with me. Mark wasn’t with me. I was alone. I will never forget the conflict of emotions I felt that night. I was euphoric passing all those bama fans on the way out. My team  just showed the world what we are made of and I couldn’t have been prouder. But just as happy as I was, I was just as disappointed. The entire undefeated season I was with my Dad, or at least near him up until that night and without him it just wasn’t complete. I could tell you countless stories about wins and loses to prove my point but trust me whether we win or lose is Small Stuff. 

I am somewhat opposite of most women at sporting events. I do not go to socialize. Sure I love having people to celebrate with and I dont necessarily want to sit with the enemy but I’m there to watch the game and that is it. No other sport shows this better than Basketball. Now I may sound like I am contradicting myself here but Basketball is night and day different than football to me. I go to basketball games almost always by myself, and that is the way I like it. Some of my friends don’t see how I can do it, drive all that way, and sit all by myself and be completely content. I don’t want you to get the wrong idea here, I am not exactly by myself, there are friends of mine that attend these games as well that sit near me but I am  in no way WITH them. Although, I am very much comfortable doing things by myself, and I hate even the idea of socializing at a sporting event, this is not why I attend Basketball games by myself. I do it because I can.

Along with a great deal of Chiarians, I am very limited in what I can do, and it seems like that list gets smaller and smaller on a daily basis. Feels like even little things like showering, or taking a trip to the library are huge tasks. And every time I complete a task like that, no matter how it makes me feel later, I get such a enormous sense of accomplishment. I’m so proud of myself, I did it. It seems silly sometimes especially when it is for showering but my life has shifted. Going to a Basketball game takes a lot. (If I was talking spoons, I would say it would take my entire days worth of spoons and most likely half of the next days as well.) First you have showering and getting ready, and remembering to grab my Section F wrist band and ID (I’m in a special section where you need these) Then comes the drive. It is around 60 miles with 40 of those being in construction. Instead of parking at the actual parking lot they have for Basketball games, I park at the football stadium and ride TRAX (Light rail system) up to the Huntsman Center because it is a shorter distance for me to walk. That walk isn’t easy either, Trax drops me off right there at the arena but it is set up on top of a hill that I have to walk up. The stairs are probably the worst part of my game day experience. I sit right behind the basket down pretty low but that means I have to go up and down a bunch of stairs. The actual game I am standing, clapping and yelling. Obviously if I didn’t want to I wouldn’t have to stand but as some of my friends know, you cant make me sit down during a game. After I’m all spent from cheering my team on I still have to make the long drive home, Which is double the ride up due to construction crews shutting down parts of the freeway. Ive already talked about why I put my body through this for a game in previous posts, so I wont go into that again. But here is something I havent said before, every game, when I go through all this, all by myself without anyone else s help it makes me feel like I can do anything. It makes me feel like I’m not worthless, I can be independent and just not so broken.

So all season when all of the fans complained about everything, and could not be pleased even when we did win, I was the opposite. Yes I was disapointed that we were not playing well but it wasn’t the end of the world like it was for some. For weeks I was genuianlly confused on why people couldn’t see things like I did. I wanted to scream at them, “WHAT IS WRONG WITH ALL OF YOU!”  I even got some critizisim on twitter because I was not effected by the bad season. I was having a great time and I didn’t try to hide it. I couln’t stand these so called fans turning on thier own team. I had had a paradigm shift so big I cant even remember thinking the way I used to. Here I was enjoying the simple act of going to the games. How I feel watching a sporting event. I soaked it up. I even got to the games extra early to watch warm ups. I was so grateful that I could even do this by myself still, that I had the money to have season tickets. I was thinking I am so fortunate to have a partner in life that puts up with me being gone all those nights. I was thinking how lucky I am to be able to sit exactly where I like to watch basketball. How we hosted some great teams and I got to watch them play. How we had some extraordinary men on our team. I was thinking how I am the luckiest girl in the world. At the same time I kept thinking why is every one  else Sweating the Small Stuff? No one could get over these little things. Our best scorer gets kicked off the team for violating team rules. Everyone was concerned about what it was going to do for the rest of the season even though it was far from being salvaged. No one wanted to think that this was done for the good of the program, and even for the kid himself. Some wouldn’t go to the games because they didn’t want to watch us play that poorly. They never thought that these kids have been working their asses off everyday and they deserve our support no matter what. Every day I heard “Utah Basketball is a Dumpster Fire” well, you are entitled to your opinion but so am I.