Tonight is the first of two annual regular season men’s basketball games between the University of North Carolina – my alma mater – and North Carolina State University – my dad’s, younger brother’s and uncle’s alma mater.
My mom, a neutral party by virtue of the fact that she didn’t go to Carolina or State, asked for my prediction when I mentioned the game to her on my way home from the office tonight.
I follow my own teams religiously, but I do more than just that. I read Sports Illustrated cover to cover every week. I follow the national sports tickers. I read the local sports news.
Nevertheless, when my mom asked me which team I expected to win the year’s first Carolina – State game, I didn’t make a pick.
Because you have to play the game.
People often ask me how Taylor’s doing. And almost as nearly as often as they ask, I don’t know what to say. That’s not to say that their question – their concern for my sister, for my family, for me – means any less. It just means that I don’t know the answer, at least not in the big picture sense.
I can always tell people how Taylor’s fighting. Because she’s always fighting hard. I can always tell people how she’s doing that day, though I won’t always do that if it’s not a good day. I can give them statistics and facts about Batten disease. But statistics and facts don’t have much to do with Taylor. Statistics and facts are numbers and letters. They’re not living, breathing children with laughs in throats that can’t speak and smiles in eyes that can’t see.
I can tell them that Batten disease is fatal. That once a child is born with Batten disease, a child will die from Batten disease. End of story.
But I can’t predict the future. And I’m not fighting this fight just for the hell of it.
Whether you’re talking about basketball or Batten disease, one thing’s for certain:
You can make all the predictions you want. But you still have to play the game.