'We won it for Kevin': Louisville top Duke despite Ware's sickening injury
时间：2019-11-16 责任编辑：那涵 来源：葡京赌场娱乐 点击：85 次
"Forget me. Win the game."
It looked like a scene from a sports movie at Lucas Oil Stadium, albeit one that borrowed make-up from a horror film. The injured 20-year-old guard, who had to be carried out on a stretcher, his season gone and an uncertain future ahead of him, urged his coach and team-mates not to worry about him, worry about the game. The message was clear: the best way they could help him would be to beat the other guys and advance to the next round of the tournament.
Louisville took the injured Kevin Ware's advice to heart as the top-seeded Cardinals dispatched second-seeded Duke 85-63 – perhaps using the mantra "bring Kevin home" for inspiration. Home would be Atlanta where they would face ninth-seeded Wichita State in the Final Four next Saturday. Despite witnessing one of the more gruesome sports injuries of recent years, Louisville were able to put that and the loss of their team-mate out of their mind long enough to completely dismantle the Blue Devils.
The rest of us? The rest of us really can't forget Kevin.
Until Ware's leg injury, the game was actually living up to its billing as the most intriguing matchup of the NCAA men's basketball tournament so far. Part of that, of course, was that the day's first matchup between fourth-seeded Michigan and third-seeded Florida turned out to be so one-sided that Michigan seemed to be in control before Florida even made their first basket. Michigan started off on a 13-0 run and never looked back, and earning a spot in the Final Four, where they will go against third-ranked Syracuse next Saturday.
By comparison, Louisville and Duke were exchanging leads throughout the first half. Many believed that the two teams, Rick Pitino's Louisville Cardinals and Mike Krzyzewski's Duke Blue Devils, were equally matched in talent and motivation, and this game seemed reflect that. Both teams suffered tournament disappointments last year, and only one team would survive this game to advance to the Final Four. This well-played, balanced game was going exactly how everyone expected, which, given how this tournament has gone, should have been our first clue that something was off.
With 6:33 left in the first half, Kevin Ware hit the floor after trying to block a three-pointer and the entire tone of the game changed.
It was immediately, sickeningly obvious that Ware had suffered a serious leg injury. The crowd fell silent, players on both sides were crying, game play stopped for what seemed like an eternity. They took Ware off on a stretcher, , and then, somehow, the game was supposed to resume.
Both teams played somewhat tentatively for the remainder of the first half, thoughts clearly elsewhere, but Louisville were able to take a three-point lead into the half. When second-half play resumed, it looked like the "win it for Kevin" talk was working, as Louisville played nearly perfect basketball – although it helped that they were a very good team anyway. They eventually blew out Duke 85-63. After the game, Pitino , and Ware, for getting the win despite the trying circumstances:
I don't think we could have gathered ourselves – I know I couldn't have – if Kevin didn't say over and over again, "Just go win the game". I don't think we could have gone in the locker room with a loss after seeing that. We had to gather ourselves. We couldn't lose this game for him.
If it felt a little like a feelgood Hollywood script, maybe that was just the easiest way to mentally process what we had just seen. A player, a college student – not a paid professional athlete, it must be emphasized – had suffered a potentially life-altering injury live on national TV. Any sort of injury – and this one was bad enough to raise the specter of – would still have been bad enough to make it difficult to watch what Louisville-Duke was supposed to be, namely the key matchup of the entire NCAA tournament.
Many fans were upset, and those negative emotions found targets. CBS's replays drew controversy. Were they unnecessary and exploitative? There was enough of a backlash that some sites vowed to show more tact. . .
Because Ware is a college athlete, and not a professional, his injury also led to some pointed comments towards the NCAA. Not only are students unpaid, they also don't get health insurance, despite their incredibly risky behaviors for the financial benefit of their school. In fact, this unwillingness to provide health benefits to its athletes is one of the major reasons why the NCAA resists calls to pay their players. and .
Really, though, most of us watching weren't upset at anything specific. It was more that we were jolted out of our comfort zone of being able to watch the game without thinking about the human costs.
Nearly every week there's a new report on concussions, and how the after-effects are worse than previously thought; another pessimistic survey on athletes' average life-span or quality of life; another story about an athlete whose off-the-court mental health or behavioral problems are linked to their sport. The average sports fan has learned to have a double consciousness about the duress these athletes are putting themselves under for our entertainment. We read, we hear, we know about these growing statistics, but we want to shut off that part of the brain while the games themselves are going on.
So when we're watching a compelling game, and all of a sudden we're seeing a kid lying in agony with his bone popping out from his skin … Well, it's just really difficult to not to say: is it worth it? Even if this Duke-Louisville game was the greatest basketball game ever played, would it have been worth it? "Is it worth it?" – the little voice inside every sports fan's head. When injuries like this happen in front of the whole world, that voice gets amplified.
That's why we, the sports fans, need the "win it for Kevin" narrative. Instead of thinking about the costs of the sports we love, we can focus on the positive sides. This iss why we never will get sick of the "triumph against adversity" narrative, or the "so-and-so incident brings the team/family/community together" narrative, ad infinitum. It's a way we can keep watching without going crazy, a way to treat every bad break, any tragedy or injury or failure, as the first act of a bigger, more heartwarming story.
The thing is: those stories, often, aren't entirely untrue. The Louisville Cardinals actually did triumph over adversity here, and it would do them a disservice not to acknowledge that. They did win it for Kevin, and there's no doubt that Ware took some amount of joy in seeing his team make it Atlanta.
Seeing one's team win does give us joy, even during the dark times. That can't be ignored. If it's a bit of a dodge to fully embrace this story to avoid thinking about the darker side of our passion for sports, it's also unfair to not admit that there is something positive to be said about yesterday.
It just isn't the whole story. After Louisville had beaten Duke, they brought out the ladder for Rick Pitino to celebrate his Final Four berth with the ceremonial cutting down of the nets, which ended up not happening. It was explicitly not about Kevin Ware: , but it still felt right considering the emotional tone of the day. The uncut net took on an unintended, but undeniable, symbolic importance. "Nobody won today," it seemed to say.