Easter Sunday means different things to different people.

This one reaffirmed why we love sports.

I wrote before the NCAA tournament that the college basketball playoff exemplifies everything we love in sports, and that was certainly on display Sunday as the men's and women's tournaments, in addition to the start of the MLB season, provided a broad range of emotions.

For starters, Michigan fans were thrilled by the way the Wolverines carried the momentum of the overtime win over Kansas on Friday to a rout of Florida in Arlington.

Gators fans experienced the frustration of watching a talented team disappear, but the men's NCAA tournament was just getting started.

We then saw a Louisville team rally around Kevin Ware after a horrific injury to the guard's right leg. Despite undoubtedly experiencing excruciating pain (had I suffered such an atrocious wound I would've just feinted, repeatedly), Ware had the wherewithal to implore his team to go out and win the game, which still had 26:33 to play.

The Cardinals did just that, routing Duke 85-63. It ruined my chance at winning my office pool but I didn't care. Seeing a squad shake off the traumatic sight of a friend and teammate going down like that was heartwarming.

"I don't think we could have gathered ourselves — I know I couldn't have — if Kevin didn't say over and over again, ‘Just go win the game,'" Louisville coach Rick Pitino said. "I don't think we could have gone in the locker room with a loss after seeing that. We had to gather ourselves. We couldn't lose this game for him.

"We just couldn't."

The University of Louisville wasn't done, however.

The Cardinals women's team pulled off an astonishing upset, taking down top-ranked Baylor, who many, myself included, assumed would win a second straight championship behind the legendary Brittney Griner.

The Louisville ladies jumped out to an early lead, only to lose it in the final seconds. But Monique Reid, who moments earlier had missed the front end of a one-and-one that could've helped put Baylor away, sank two free throws with 2.6 seconds left after she drove to the basket and was fouled by Griner.

Watching the ecstatic Cardinals explode in euphoria as the final whistle blew on an 82-81 win, I felt a vicarious elation as a team overcame seemingly impossible odds as 24-point underdogs.

Yet at the same time I felt a pang of sadness for the Lady Bears, some of whom erupted in a heartrending flow of tears. Such is the yin and yang of sports, usually a zero-sum game.

"I'm just sad," Griner said. "I didn't do what I needed to do to get my team to the Elite Eight and just disappointment in myself."

Baylor didn't appear to play with the same fire that led to its 40-0 campaign last season, though Kim Mulkey had plenty of fire on the sideline. I felt a bit of regret as the Griner era came to a close, ending a four-year period that changed the way many view the women's game.

After Louisville provided fears, tears and cheers, some Louisville sluggers exhibited the great optimism of MLB's opening day down in Houston.

Everyone starts out undefeated and on Sunday even the Astros — who haven't won much of anything in recent years — fostered that hopefulness by staying unbeaten after opening day. Houston won the franchise's first game in the American League and proved that even if the season outlook is bleak, the Astros can compete hard every day and earn every bit of their miniscule paychecks.

"To come out with a win is perfect," Astros designated hitter Carlos Pena said. "To be part of it is really cool. To play our rivals here in Texas and to come out on top today, it's a treat."

A treat for everyone but the Rangers, the only Major League Baseball team with a loss right now. Nonetheless, Texas' setback merely offers a chance to demonstrate perhaps the greatest sentiment in sports: There's always tomorrow.

 

 

 

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