Sunday, March 4, 2007

We're in a good place. In fact, we're in such a good place that it's difficult to find something remotely interesting to write today! There's no tragedy. No illness. No sad story. Oh, but there are some fun things!

My hubby has been coaching Nathan's 1st and 2nd grade basketball team this winter. Let's just say that is has been challenging at best! He is a wonderful guy with a passion for teaching kids to play sports the right way. He's all about the respect of a game. He teaches them to run on and off the field/floor, that you cheer for your team when you're riding the bench, you slap your opponents' hands and look them in the eye when you say "good game" at the end of a contest. He has all sorts of good-sportsman type things he's been working on with them. This season he has also had many opportunities to teach them about losing. Actually, every week he gets to talk to them about that! Nathan has learned more from this season of perpetual losing than any season he's played and won. There have been tears, anger, and downright breaking down sessions.

This poor guy plays his guts out every game and has seen nothing for his efforts...he thought.

Yesterday was his last game. Coach went into it just thinking if he could get through one more game, he's move on to baseball season and never look back. You see, he was working with a pretty raw group. He had one kid who would beg to come out of the game and spend his time negotiating with the coach on the sideline instead of playing on the court. Two had great effort and some skill. They shot the ball, played good defense, and were faithful in chasing the guy on the other team every time they stole the ball and raced to the other end to make a basket, again. Then there was the one who didn't have much skill in the way of playing basketball - but he would have been GREAT on the football field. Ahhh, and the last little guy. He is sweet as he gets. But he has no backbone. He sort of floated around the court with his eyes situated just above the heads of the other kids as they wrestled, ran, and flopped around the court. When the season started if he ever touched the ball - which was usually by accident - he would wrap his arms around it and stand hugging it. Whoever had the ball usually formed the head of the bee swarm as all of the other boys chased him around trying (along with the other eight players on the floor) to swipe it from him.

Now it's the last game. Coach is feeling sure he know how this is going to go. Let me tell you - I'm not sure where our team was - but this amazing little team of mini-players showed up. They passed the ball, they shot the ball when they were near the basket, they put their hands UP in defense!! These guys suddenly looked like they got it. I'm not saying they looked like a team of Michael Jordans out there (okay - just aged my self), but they got it. They were smiling and playing hard. Every child but one on our team scored during this game - no small thing!! The one who didn't score was a big scorer the rest of the season - so we didn't feel so bad about it.

At the end of the game I held by breath. The score was 32-20 our favor. I was so excited for those little guys to feel the victory just one time this season. However, I learned during the game the other team had never won a game either. I was scared then that our team would explode in joy, storm the court, tear down the net. How would that make those other little boys feel? You know what? Our boys were respectful in their win! They walked through that line, slapped those hands, said "good game," and then ran to the coach to leap in silent joy. It was beautiful. After the game as I talked with the Coach he expressed a pride in his boys. Not that he hadn't had some before - but now, they were winners! Actually, he said it didn't have anything to do with winning. He was just so thrilled to see that they had learned to work together, play hard, never give up, and be gracious in winning because they know how it feels to lose. A beautiful, beautiful thing.

No comments: