Nadkarni: Don’t forget the important things

Rohan Nadkarni, Assistant Sports Editor

The end of autumn is always a good time to reflect and curse yourself for choosing a cold-weather school, especially when you’ve lived in sunny South Florida since you were 4 years old.

This quarter has definitely been emotional for us at the sports desk. You’ve seen our columns and articles on heartbreaking losses, the importance of improving (or is it wavering?) fan support and how obsessed we are with the men’s basketball team making the NCAA Tournament in March.

And although I take what I do very seriously, I would be a fool not to recognize the truly meaningful things that happened around campus during Fall Quarter.

Lauren Caruba wrote an extremely important piece about sexual assault and mental health earlier this week, highlighting the imperfections of a school that considers itself to be one of the top universities in the world.

True heartbreak is what the entire campus felt after learning that we lost two members of our community in tragic circumstances. I can’t even fathom what those students’ friends and families have gone through. NU may not be as much of “One Northwestern” as the campaign suggests, but at least we can take solace in the fact that maybe the tragedies of this past quarter have brought us all closer together.

Hopefully this makes sense in a moment, but I want to jump to my family for a bit.

Every Christmas for a long time now, with the Miami Heat fixtures to play, my brother, my parents and myself often find ourselves around the TV for a good portion of the day watching the Heat game. I’ll sleep in, wake up and then watch basketball for hours, anticipating a big meal for dinner.

My dad watches a tiny bit more so than my mom, who’s usually doing important things like making sure the rest of us have food to eat. And though my dad’s favorite sport will always be cricket, he’s not afraid to drop some basketball analysis while watching with my brother and me.

In fact, last week my dad coolly prophesized a Ray Allen game-winning three, then tried to play it off like it was obvious when I freaked out about his prediction.

These memories are selfishly some of my favorite ones because they bring my family together over something I truly love ­— sports.

But now more than ever, I understand that what we write about is more of an escape than anything else. I’ve interviewed a dejected Pat Fitzgerald after an excruciating loss in the bowels of Michigan Stadium, but I’ve never spoken to the crying friend or the grieving mother.

These next few weeks, the NU men’s basketball team might suffer another double-digit loss or make you wonder if they will ever have the size to compete. Fitzgerald’s football squad may fail to win a bowl game, extending the school’s ignominious 73-year drought without a postseason victory.

But whether you’re huddled around the television with your family, cursing at the screen every time Trevor Siemian enters the game instead of Kain Colter or doing normal things like eating dinner and catching up, there’s certainly no need to be heartbroken over what happens on the field or on the court.

Happy holidays, everyone.

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