The past few days were spent in Indianapolis at the Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament with my 16 and13 year old sons. It was a pretty exciting experience.....I've been to plenty of Big East and Big Ten games over the years - but there is something so very different about tournament time. It isn't called March Madness because it is boring!
Every game kept us on the edge of our seats....and many teams that were expected to waltz right through to the final game (aka THE Ohio State...by the way...what is with the THE....is there another Ohio State I am not aware of?) struggled to hold on for a win or were upset. Ohio State entered the tournament seeded not only number one in the Big Ten but in the nation. We expected this game to be just a warm-up for the Illinois/Michigan match-up we were most interested in. But this actually turned out to be just as an exciting game.....could Northwestern really take down THE Ohio State? Wow!!!
All in all, Ohio State did win the tournament - but not without a few scares, and how many out there would have expected Penn State to beat Wisconsin and Michigan State on their way to the final against Ohio State?
Just a great reminder that we should never underestimate an underdog.
I had several hours of windshield time as we returned from Indianapolis and I kept thinking about that statement......never underestimate an underdog....and came to the realization that this applies not only to sports but also to life.
I know several underdogs that our nemesis Cancer fortunately underestimated. Lance Armstrong being the most famous of those....and one that made others stand up and take notice.....that made others realize that they have hope....and brought attention to the fact that underdogs can AND should NEVER give up.
Unfortunately for my family, cancer has won the battle all too often. We have lost my mother, father, sister, aunt and my husband/father of my three children all to cancer. However, cancer hasn't won the battle with those that are still here......each and everyday my children and I wake up with a mission to live life to its fullest. This is our own way of winning as an underdog.
I am here to tell you that being a widowed single parent and raising children alone because of cancer isn't easy (not that I assumed you thought it was). The financial consequences are huge (that itself is a separate blog....I'll get on that soapbox another time) but the emotional consequences are even more difficult and far-reaching. Not only does the attitude I chose each morning impact myself....it impacts the three children I am responsible for "molding" into members of our society. I have to find a way to be positive each and every moment of each and everyday.....even though there are plenty of days I would love to pull those covers over my head and hide from the "crap" life throws at me.
But, I realize if I am unable to muster up a positive outlook, than cancer has impacted us yet again. I am constantly reminded of those whose lives were lost to cancer and what a shame it would be to lose the lives of those left behind by not living each day fully. I know Brian would be disappointed if we allowed cancer to win again....just as he would have been disappointed if Michigan State had rolled over to Purdue (he despised Purdue....being a die-hard Indiana fan).
Cancer - please take note. The underdogs are NOT to be underestimated. We will NOT let you take our lives without a fight, we will NOT allow you to bring negativity into our lives, we WILL live our lives each and everyday full of life....we WILL WIN this battle!
I am running 26.2 miles on March 20th as one more attempt to put cancer on notice as a member of Team LIVESTRONG. I would be absolutely thrilled if you would consider supporting my efforts as an underdog! Donations to my fundrasing efforts can be made on-line using the link below:
One last item of note....I need to make a plug for a gentleman that everyone would have thought was an underdog, but took it upon himself to show cancer he wasn't going to allow the after effects of cancer impact his family. Please consider viewing My Run - a documentary about Terry Hitchcock - another widowed single parent raising his children - as he decided to run 75 marathons on 75 consecutive days to bring awareness to the number of single parents and the children being raised by those single parents. Please take a moment to watch the trailer below and consider purchasing tickets for the March 31st viewing across the country. A portion of the proceeds from this movie benefits LIVESTRONG.