Monday, October 22, 2012

Beyond the Win

Yesterday was a great day for sports in Indiana.  The Indianapolis Colts pulled out a victory over the Cleveland Browns (I know, but don't sell the Browns short - they're good in their own right and building something better).  And the Indiana Fever took home the WNBA title in a hard-fought game 4 to deliver Indiana's first basketball championship since the ABA.

It's cool to wake up here this morning and hear about the winning.  But winning isn't everything.  In fact, it's hardly anything.

I'd rather go for the victory.

Wait...what?  Isn't winning a victory?  Aren't they the same?

Absolutely not.  Victory goes beyond the win.

Winning is statistical.  It is numbers on a spreadsheet, points on a scoreboard, tallies in a score book.  It is an objective reality based on the rules of the game and whatever scoring system is established.  It is out-performing, out-playing, out-showing an opponent so that the numbers stack up in your favor.  But that's all that winning is.  It's numbers.

Victory, on the other hand, is in the story.  It is dynamic.  It goes beyond the scoreboard and into the heart.  It's not necessarily a numbers game; it's life as we know it.  Victory doesn't have to necessarily add up.  But it feels like a win, so you go with it.

Yesterday, we put two W's in the win column.  Today, that's not what anybody's talking about.  We're talking about victory.

We're leading our coverage of the Colts by talking about Coach Pagano.  Coach Chuck Pagano was released from the hospital following four weeks of intensive treatments to start his battle against leukemia.  We're talking about him going home earlier than expected, watching the game from the comfort of his own home.  We're talking about his doctor standing at the gates to the stadium as part of the ChuckStrong team.  We're talking about the hard days behind him and the hard days still to come.  We're talking about the community standing behind him, the monies raised for leukemia research, the work being done at the IU Simon Cancer Center, and what the powerful energy behind this one man whose energies have to be being sucked out of him is doing in, for, and through this community.

That goes way beyond the 17-13 on the scoreboard or the .500 on the season.  This goes beyond 2 rushing touchdowns for the rookie quarterback or fourth-quarter stops by the defense.  This isn't a win; this is victory.

When we talk about the Fever, we're talking about Tamika Catchings and Katie Douglas, two women who have played in Indianapolis for more than a decade, committed to their team and to using their talents to bring this victory here.  We're talking about leadership, in the locker room and out of it.  We're talking about community ambassadors, the way Catchings has been part of so much and uses her platform to inspire a new generation.  We're talking about key injuries and the way girls are coming off the bench to be a factor.  We're talking about Coach Lin Dunn, who has poured her heart into building this opportunity for women and who leads with conviction and credibility.  We're talking about the way Coach Dunn subbed the injured Katie Douglas into the lineup in the last three seconds so that she could taste the win she'd poured her everything - including her ankle - into.

We're talking about more than 87-78.  We're talking about more than minutes played, rebounds, steals, and fouls.  This is story.  It's about a team that's connected here.  That lives here.  That plays here.  That serves and loves and is committed to here.  It's not the win (taking the series 3-1) that's got the whole town talking.  It's the victory.

Yesterday was a great day for sports in Indiana.  But it goes beyond the win.

Don't get me wrong.  The win feels good.

It's just that the victory is so much sweeter.

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