As a scholar (and just in life in general), I have generally been a person who understands the world through metaphors. The above lyrics are from the band .38 Special’s song Hold on Loosely, which was a song describing the importance of not smothering one’s significant other when in an intimate relationship. The implication being that if one “holds on too tightly,” one risks driving her or his lover away and the relationship will eventually crumble. These lyrics are paradoxical and describe the counterintuitive aspects of strengthening the bonds of a relationship by providing room for individual growth outside of the relationship’s constraints. Over the course of the last few years, I have found these lyrics to be particularly apropos for my line of research and helped me understand how entities like the NCAA have been able to thrive and maintain dominance over contentious environments.