Dear Jimmer Fredette,

I'm heartbroken this morning. I feel your pain. Your dream of taking BYU to the National Championship title last night was shattered. I know you wanted this so much. I know when you were practicing by yourself all those years growing up that one day you fantasized about cutting down the nets on a Monday night in early April as a national champion.

I'm heartbroken for America this morning also. You gave millions of this nation's basketball fans--some who didn't even know you a few months ago--inspiration and exhilaration. You dazzled like no long range shooter has in the history of basketball. We jumped on the Jimmer bandwagon because it was pure fun and entertainment. You are one of the good guys out there, someone easy to root for, a ray of sunshine amid a world now darkened with so many weighty problems. You distracted us from our day to day irritations. You brought us back to when we were kids and had lofty and often unrealistic dreams that were, nevertheless, what made us want to keep living. You had the guts to think about how great a basketball player you could be. Even more impressive, and infinitely more difficult, you worked your tail off to get there.

Many of us talk about how we're going to do great things with our lives that transcend the mundane and make us stand out as someone people stop and say: "Hey, look at what that guy is doing. He's amazing." But unlike the vast majority of us, you did the due diligence and worked at your craft. When your friends were watching TV and playing video games, you went to the court and practiced your shot and cross over dribble. You sacrified some of your childhood to get where you are. You had a chance to quit or settle for mediocrity--most of us do the latter. But you insisted on being great.

You are great, Jimmer. But it's not just because of your mind-boggling shooting range and crafty layups in traffic that hearken back to the mesmerizing play of Larry Bird when he could do things on the court that made you say "How did he do that?" You are great for many more important reasons, Jimmer. You are a nice guy. It's so obvious. You have values and stick to them. You have a philosophy of how to live your life and you live it. You are who you are and you do not try to be anyone else.

People could tell this about you. In a world filled with phonies, hypocrites, liars, and cheats, you stand out like a gorgeous new baseball park amid a downtrodden and decrepid city. You rock. Jimmer. You are cool. You are cooler than any rappers or shock jocks or political pundits. You are authentic. You are rare. You are lovable.

I sure wish your team won last night so this Jimmer Jamboree could fill America's days with more fun for the next few weeks. I sure wish the national joy ride you've been on the past few months would last on until you cut down the nets on Monday night. I wish you had another year of college eligibility. I wish last nigth wasn't your last game. I know I'm not alone. America wanted you and needed you. We still do, actually.

Life is so fleeting, as you know. Highs and lows come and go like the seasons. You were definitely one of those highs, Jimmer, the best kind of high. All good, all fun, all pure, all entertaining, all genuine, all true, all American.



March 25, 2011  10:07 AM ET

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