Finding Joy in Tragic Times

Andy and I are still grieving about Newtown, just like most of America. It was awful and shocking and evil.

Newtown made me think about selfishness. Why did the attacker have to kill innocent people if he was just going to commit suicide anyway?

Nothing can bring back the killer’s victims now. But amid all the horror and the pain, life can still reveal wonder and happiness and childlike amazement if you look around you.

Still raw from the events of Friday, we found beauty on Saturday: juxtaposed with the devastating act of selfishness and hate that played out in Newtown, basketball fans – even those of us quick to criticize the ego of Kevin Love and his comments last week, or the greed that characterized the 2011 lockout and was embodied in Adam Silver’s smug press conferences – saw millionaires of different races, nations, and tongues, come together in Minneapolis to play a game unselfishly, as a single unit, in a way not seen before in the 2012-13 campaign.

It’s easy to point to Ricky Rubio’s return, with that smile, showy passing, and unassuming persona, as the reason for that beauty. And it was. But that wasn’t all.

Andrei Kirilenko and Alexey Shved were doing this before Rubio, every night, whether their teammates were with them or not. This kind of unselfish, above-average starter role was much needed.

I thought Brandon Roy’s leadership and passing was going to be the perfect fit if he could stay healthy. Maybe it would’ve been, but he didn’t.

Kirilenko and Shved have brought a new culture over from Russia, and it’s all about sharing and team play. Rubio couldn’t do that all by himself. Now, he has a critical mass of guys who share his mentality. (I haven’t even mentioned Dante Cunningham yet either. He’s in this category too, and so is Pekovic, I believe.)

It’s easy to become bitter and cynical when selfish people only act for themselves, to get their spotlight. It can be difficult to get away from in this society, in this day and age. Newtown was just the most terrifying, grotesque example.

Fortunately for Wolves fans, we get to watch a group that for the most part revels in selflessness and making each other better, and having fun. Those qualities are going to make this the best year of Wolves basketball yet, and it’s only just begun.

The world still looks very dark in the wake of Friday’s events. But finding the good in the people, and the beauty in the things you’re passionate about – and it’s everywhere, you just have to look hard sometimes – reminds that even during the darkest of times, there’s always reason for hope.


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