Monday, March 16, 2009

Enjoying the small things in these trying times

When I attended Binghamton University, nee SUNY-Binghamton, in the early 90s, it’s sports programs were Division III. It was small-time, no television, 500 people in the West Gym, college basketball, to which I held season tickets for my four years on campus. Imagine my joy, then, to sit in my family room Saturday morning and watch Binghamton on ESPN2 play for its first conference title and trip to March Madness since the jump to Division I eight year ago. When the final buzzer sounded, and the announcers congratulated Binghamton on its historic win, and thousands of crazed fans flooded the floor of the school glistening new Events Center, I am not embarrassed to say that I shed a tear for my alma matter.

We live in depressing times. You can’t open a newspaper or surf the web without reading news about the sinking stock market, failing banks, high foreclosure rates, and record job losses. As an employment lawyer, those layoffs, frankly, are good for business. Yet, every time my phone rings and I field a call about handling the mechanics of another layoff at some other company, my heart sinks a little. I’m grateful for the work, and somber that what I do for a living can have such a profound effect on the lives of people that I likely will never meet.

Binghamton’s foray into big time college sports got me to thinking, in these trying times, we really do need to sit back and enjoy the small things. Whatever your small thing might be – a picture your daughter colored for you, a quiet conversation with someone you love, or picking your beloved alma mater to wear Cinderella’s slipper in the office pool – embrace it, even for a moment. At the end of the day, it’s the small things in our lives that are often the biggest of all, and help us cope with the big things that we too often allow to define who we are.

Oh, and go Binghamton, beat Duke.

[Update: for more on Binghamton basketball, I cannot more highly recommend Tzvi Twersky article in Slam Magazine: Great Blue Times at Binghamton U.]

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