The relationship between sports and drama can be overblown. For every Jim and Jane that eats up all the drama leading up to “Rivalry Week,” there’s a Fillmore and Gertrude asking, “What’s the big deal?”
That being said, this committee of one will contest that drama can be found on any level of sport, and UVU has been no exception this summer.
Wolverines center fielder Chris Benson is coming off a stellar college career. He batted .400 or better his last two seasons. He was just named All-American Honorable Mention.
And he wasn’t drafted.
This despite getting teasing inquiries from the Toronto Blue Jays and Milwaukee Brewers.
Another story of triumph-to-tragedy, again courtesy of the baseball team. Outfielder Kirk Doxey wasn’t a pampered high school recruit. He walked on, made a chair for himself at a table of talent that was already pretty full.
He started as a freshman, led the team in home runs.
His reward? Probably no senior season, because a technicality was noticed just three years too late.
Zoom out a little, and the same high-low transition occurs. UVU dominated the Great West Conference for a second straight year. They won their second consecutive Commissioner’s Cup and boasted three All-Americans counting Benson.
The build-up led to UVU applying for admission to the Western Athletic Conference and a shot at an automatic bid.
The WAC’s response? Thanks, but no thanks.
Stop and think about the emotional impact of each of these scenarios. To go from being the best, defying the odds or impressing your peers to “not quite good enough,” “sorry, but…” and “thanks, but no thanks” is a pretty steep fall.
And yet that’s why sports exist, because all those falls will eventually give way to the jump that makes it. For every Benson, Doxey (maybe) and WAC, there’s a Ronnie Price making the NBA, a club rodeo member finishing second in the nation, a wrestler taking fourth in the U.S.
It’s the defeats of now that make the victories of later worth it, the idea that someday a conference with an automatic bid will say, “Yes, UVU. We recognize your progress and your enrollment of nearly 30,000. We choose you over the tried-and-failed school of 8,000 students.”
And if that sounds a little vindictive, just remind yourself: it’s all part of the drama going on right here at UVU.