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The humanity of the Final Four

The humanity of the Final Four
Posted at 1:08 PM, Apr 03, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-03 16:14:20-04

Dejected.

Devastated.

Disconsolate.

Casey Benson was all of those things as he left the floor on Saturday night.

He walked slowly through the tunnel to his locker room, head down, eyes red with tears.

His team, the Oregon Ducks, just saw their dream season end in a one point loss to the North Carolina Tar Heels.

This is the Final Four, or at least a part of it.

It's the flip side of the shining moments.

The student-athletes at the Final Four are kids, very big kids.  They're adults on paper. But, when you're middle age like me, they're kids, and I mean that in the best possible way.

They're not jaded professionals, not yet. Their teammates are part of their family. The schools they represent reap massive financial benefits from a deep tournament run, but these players, they play for pride.

It hurts when they lose.

It's hard to watch. It's sad to see. It's a blessing to witness.

It means that an event that sometimes feels more about busted brackets and rampant commercialism than competition still has humanity at the heart of it.

As you watch the championship game tonight, remember that.

Those kids, those very big kids, are playing for the love of the game and we are lucky to witness it.