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Love & Basketball: Expectations

Sometime Sunday, freshman guard Aaron Harrison gave me an answer. I was on Facebook and UK posts dominated my newsfeed. I watched a video of Aaron, who after discussing the thrill of hitting the game-winning shot against Wisconsin, said, “It’s everything I expected coming to Kentucky – just winning games and just really having fun.”

Winning games and having fun. That’s what Aaron expected when he chose Kentucky. UK fans love to win and, for us, basketball is fun. Two parties with the same expectations make a great couple.

People talk about the fanaticism of those wearing blue with the same disdain they have for singles who expect ‘too much.’ However, I don’t think high expectations are the main problem. We obviously need to ensure a person is first signed to our team and then shares our expectations, but after that, high expectations have some positives. They challenge you to be your best. They demonstrate your commitment level. They are accompanied by a fierce loyalty that makes the expectant ride hard for the team. And even when the expectant loses hope during rough patches, they only need to see a flicker in the team’s eye to re-ignite the fire.

I’m willing to adjust my love expectations as necessary, but basketball has confirmed that, mostly, I just need the right partner. One who understands I don’t expect to always win. Who realizes my primary expectation is that we’re in this together. Who shares my goals. Who wants “it,” i.e. us, as badly as I do. Who values both fun and winning. Who gives his best. Who leaves his all on the court. Who, after an off night, returns the next day with more determination. Who fights to restore my hope when it dwindles. Who is as proud as I am of the name we represent. Who can adjust expectations for the season. Who is focused on legacy building. Who understands that my expectations are in terms of performance more so than outcome.

When things don’t turn out as hoped, in basketball and in love, it’s easier to accept when the performance lived up to your expectations. Kentucky fans went into the championship game expecting to cut down nets Monday night. Instead, we went home empty-handed. However, throughout the tournament, the team showed so much heart that the fan base still rallied behind it. They played their best, and that performance was enough for us. Regardless how high our expectations may be, in basketball and in love, we realize that all we can ask is for people to give their all.

My adult expectations are pretty similar to those of my childhood: that God will supply my needs, that I will make a career of my passion, that I will watch UK win basketball games, and that a man will give me his best. I have enough wisdom to know that while there will be losses, winning is about so much more than keeping score.

Photo courtesy of Nick Jio, Unsplash.

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SheryLeigh is a woman who loves God, words, and people. She is currently living and loving as an author, blogger, poet, and spoken word artist in the Washington, D.C., area. A communicator by education and trade, SheryLeigh holds a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from Howard University and a Master of Arts in Management from Webster University.