I taught money and banking, among other economics subjects, for many years. One of my major "sermons" was the sermon I titled "every bubble will burst." At the start of each money and banking class, I generously doled out $5 million fictitious money to each student. I required them to work in groups of 3 to 5 students and put together an investment portfolio by learning to read and follow the financial markets. At the end of each semester, each group was required to give a group report. One of the major lessons learned during the semester in trying to ride up "hot" investment opportunities was the sad fact that, truly, I was not lying when I said "every bubble will burst."
I cautioned my students not to get too complacent, not to put all their "eggs in one basket," to be prepared for lumps, bumps, and bruises. I tried to teach them that the admonition that "every bubble will burst is a universal principle, applying to virtually every aspect of our lives.
One bubble that burst frequently for college students was when the love of someone's life told him or her that he or she no longer loved them. People who foolishly listen to someone who has a "deal they should not refuse" are left weeping and wailing when the deal did, indeed, turn out too good to be true. Other bubbles burst when a perfect marriage goes astray, when a child turns in a sad direction, when we have an unexpected medical calamity, when our house gets washed away in a flood, buried in a mudslide, or twisted into the air by a tornado; when we are called into the office after faithfully serving an employer for decades and told our services are no longer needed; when the religious faith we thought we could count on begins to waver; when we lose a loved one; when we are called far away and lose our lives in military service; when all of our best efforts to achieve a goal fail. You can think of your own list of potential bubbles and calamities.
Brigham Young University's football team was riding a bubble. Eighteenth ranked nationally. Possible undefeated season. Quarterback hyped for the Heisman. Fans were giddy. The golden fruit on an easy picking bough seemed within our grasp. And then, the unthinkable. For the first time in 38 years, BYU lost to Utah State in Provo. First, BYU had a mediocre first half dsepite making two touchdowns. Then their Heisman hopes dashed when their star quarterback went down with a broken leg, out for the season. Then, compounding error after error and pick after pick, Utah State moved on like a team on a mission and destroyed BYU. The bubble burst. The tears and lamentations and outbursts of anger and incredulity multiplied among Cougar fans from ocean to ocean.
In thinking about the many years I preached my "bubble will burst sermon", I could not help but remember the words of the 1936 lyrics to the song that admonished us to "pick yourself up, take a deep breath, dust yourself off, and start all over again." What matters is how we deal with adversity, how we are able to readjust our dreams to the reality of a crisis and a burst bubble, and how we are able to move on. I saw a student years after I retired from teaching who told me with a tinge of bitterness, that I gave him the only C he ever received in college. I burst his bubble. Years later, he could not cope with this disaster. I can tell you that if he got a C in a class of 400 students that there were hundreds above him who got A's and B's.
BYU will survive. Utah State will gloat. Life will go on. Reality will set in. A recognition of what is really important will permeate our over saturated sports infatuated minds. We hope our quarterback's surgery this morning was successful and that he will heal and go on to a brighter day. And so must we. As my wife likes to say, "it is what it is." In other words, deal with it. Make the best of it. Go visit the sick, help the unfortunate, shed a tear with the sad, call a long lost friend, put your arm around your wife and your children and tell them how much you love them, learn to get by with little, banish forever the greed that got you into your predicament, sell your boat, be patient with the elderly, and love the life that you have, no matter how sick, no matter how deep the hurts and wounds, no matter the job or financial calamity. Each day is still precious. As Mary Engelbreit says in one of her priceless quotes "We are as happy as we want to be." Oh, and renew your season tickets. Besides, there is still a good chance that UCLA will beat the University of Utah tonight.