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Greska: On losing and losses

[Warning: This post has very little relevance to Marquette basketball and contains some graphic descriptions.]

This website has probably outlived its usefulness, to be honest. We don’t provide scoops or break news. We don’t cover the games in person. Heck, we barely even write posts anymore, putting most of the statistical tidbits on Twitter and never bothering to actually write them up in full, instead relying on two or three Tweets to address what 500 words could better explain.

I ask myself all the time, why do I even bother putting any posts up here, why not just let PT expire and have one less thing to weigh me down on life’s old checklist.

It’s not like we’re doing it for the money. The ad revenue adds up to about $150 a year, which covers the domain, the space upgrades for the gameday pictures and maybe a KenPom sub.

There’s a certain amount of vanity involved, sure. I love listening to podcasts and have Scrambled Eggs pipe in on something they read on PT, or have Real Chilly reference our tiers column, or have AE dive into a post they may have differing thoughts on.

But most of all, I love having an outlet where I can be blunt and honest and sometimes crass talking about one of the things I love most in this world, and that’s Marquette basketball.

And in rare times, because life is never tidy, my personal life becomes the focus of a post, helping me work through some of the conflict raging between my head and heart. This is one of those times, pardon my selfishness, I just need to vent.

***

I am strictly against hyperbolic overreactions to individual events. No, this isn’t the worst day ever because your wifi broke or your car wouldn’t start. You know it, I know it, and still everyone does it. With the amount of days we have already lived, and the average days still to come, it’s very difficult to pinpoint the exact day that could be classified as worst.

But Saturday, March 2nd was the worst day of my life, and barring a UMBC-like upset will remain so for the rest of my life. My wife was about 7 weeks pregnant with our 4th child. And in the span of a few hours, she wasn’t.

The doctor explained this is very common early in pregnancies, with about 1 in 3 ending prematurely in the first trimester, so we were actually still ahead of the curve, in a morbid way.

I was never as stat based either in life or in sport until this site started to resonate with MU fans. I found a niche that both intrigued me and provided an appreciative audience. But the hours and days and weeks and months spent on KenPom and Synergy and TRank and Hoop-Math and Massey and Sagarin and RPI Wizard have shaped me in a very analytical frame of mind. It has even shaped my real life career path.

So in a dark way, hearing these statistics was just what I needed. This was as likely as Ed Morrow missing a free throw.

But that’s sick. No amount of statistical reference lessens the hurt, or dulls the pain or makes it better. We had created a life for the fourth time in 5 years, but for the first time in our life, would not bring it in to the world.

***

There are moments that the words don’t reach
There is suffering too terrible to name
You hold your child as tight as you can
And push away the unimaginable
The moments when you’re in so deep
It feels easier to just swim down

It’s quiet uptown

***

Marquette played one of the worst games I’ve seen in the Wojo era on Sunday against Creighton and the worst part of it all was that I cared. It bothered me.

You read all of these stories and articles about how life and death experiences put things into perspective, and yet the fact that we lost a child not even 24 hours before didn’t make a dent in my interest in watching (or in emoting at the screen) killed me. Kills me. Still. Right now.

Why do I care? Why can’t I stop caring?

The one bit of salve was that my wife wanted to watch too. She is probably an above average fan in normal conditions, knowing game times and opponents, but not scrolling Twitter and forums every day for the latest bit of news of MU conversation like some of us depraved peeps.

Having her in that traumatic state sitting next to me helped act as a reprieve of sorts. It was ok to watch. It was ok to lose myself for a few moments.

That is until the last 4 minutes came and went with the MU switch clearly in the “off” position. She didn’t really care about the result, obviously, but just took this as another sign the universe was against her. And what do you say to the woman you love above all else, going through the most excruciating of circumstances, that will make it better.

Marquette’s resume is still ok? They are a tournament lock? It just means losing a seed line?

How the fuck would that make any of this better?

***

As is often the case when you think it can’t get worse, God laughs and humbles you. It can always get worse.

I assume 90% of the visitors to this blog are male, so you and I will never actually know what this feels like emotionally. But it’s just as bad physically. What I was woefully unaware of, is that when a woman’s body rejects a nonviable fetus, it is a process nearly as excruciating as labor.

It is labor. It comes with contractions and back pain and all of the stuff a man would never be able to withstand. Except, being so early in the first trimester, instead of hours of pushing and yelling and misery resulting in the most wonderful thing in the world, it results in the most hideous.

A disgusting glop of human life, broken into passable chunks, accompanied by torrents of blood, emptied into a toilet. The doctor said if we wanted to, we could scoop out the chunks and save them in a container to take for further testing. For real.

I don’t do well with blood and routinely get weak kneed watching other people give it. But with my wife nearly passing out every 30 minutes as the process repeated itself for hours on end, I did my best to help with anything she needed.

Walking her back and forth. Going out to buy maxi pads. Changing the blood-soaked garments. Pulling the trigger.

You have to flush your own child, over and over and over.

***

This is the part where you’d expect me to say that this experience really put what “losing” means into perspective. That college basketball is not real life and the W/L record won’t matter at all.

But that would be a lie. I’m still bitter that Marquette couldn’t hold the ball. I still want to dive into Synergy to watch key possessions again. I still am nervous for tipoff against Seton Hall.

I still care.

Maybe that makes me a terrible person, maybe that just makes me human. We have been blessed with 3 wonderful kids that I hug just a little tighter each night and tremendous families to help us bridge over the hardest moments.

I don’t want to stop enjoying life. I don’t think I need to. And Marquette basketball brings me so much life. The joy, the anger, the laughter, the disappointment. I am not letting go. I have cut back on Twitter consumption and posting by about 95% since Saturday as a sort of penance, but even that is slowly reverting to the mean.

I’ll be back to normal before long, but I want this, need this to be heard and felt. My loss was real. But that won’t stop me from feeling the losses yet to come.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?”

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One Comment on “Greska: On losing and losses”

  1. Tom Bourgeois
    March 18, 2019 at 11:35 am #

    Andrei,

    God bless you and your family. Thank you for your blog.

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