Monday, April 23, 2012

Team Sports, Redux

I spent Saturday watching other people's children play sports. I felt as though I were in an advertisement for Mrs. Obama's Let's Move initiative.  Though the temperatures were flirting with triple digits, there were hundreds of people at La Cima Middle School, watching and playing soccer. Only the parents of the players were sheltering under umbrellas, immobile in the heat of the noontime sun.  Everyone else was kicking a ball or playing tag or stretching before flag football.  Best of all, everyone was smiling.

I was reminded of the benefits of team sports as I watched Mr. 6's fellow first graders pass the ball up the field.  They are still working on scoring and aiming is apparently a higher level task than they have mastered as yet, but it was far from the herd-ball I'd seen at the first game.  The defense moved up in concert with the front line, the "far" kids stayed far and the "near" kids stayed near and I watched in amazement as they held fast to their positions while following the ball with their eyes.  There was so much going on and they were so little and they were so focused on the task at hand. 

Elizibeth was in the second day of her volleyball tourney, and, since even faux-Moms can only be in one place at a time, I went to watch her as Amster drove to birthday parties and other assorted boy activities.  Luck was with me - I arrived at the gym (with its very cool logo printed proudly on the far side of the volleyball net.... hence the white stripe through his beak)
just as her game was starting.
She didn't know that I was there at first.  I got to watch her strong serve and then her delighted gasp as she shared her joy in the unreturnable ball with surprise on her face.  "Oh, my God!" never sounded so good.  It's nice when your mere presence can elicit such happiness.
Getting a 14 year old to concentrate, to pay attention, to attend to the activity in front of her is often a mind-numbing experience.  Over and over you repeat yourself.... over and over she doesn't listen.  But look at that face, that intensity, that readiness.  Her team depended upon her and she was not going to let them down. 
A lot of it has to do with the coach, of course.  Volunteers all, Mr. 6's mom-coach has turned a ragtag bunch of newbies into a fairly respectable example of a team.  By middle school, that concept is well-established.  Caring about it is another thing, entirely.  Elizibeth loves Hannah, her coach (standing to her left) even as she stands bemused, clutching her roster and wondering where the skills she taught had disappeared.
For, while there were certainly many scenes like this one, where the ball actually did make it back over the net with force,  there were more times when frustration took hold.
The other team had many more opportunities to cheer and pound on the gym floor.
and then it was over.  They lost the game I saw, but Elizibeth's team took second place over-all, and she received a medal for outstanding performance. 

She was sorry I hadn't seen a snazzier performance, but I didn't mind.  It was more than the winning and the awards that made us smile as we munched on bruschetta and recapped the event.  It was the nicknames of the players and the fondness for the coach and the sound that the ball made when it bounded off her fists that were the real reasons to celebrate.

All these lessons learned while working up a sweat. 


  1. Looks like a lot of fun--even to watch. I love the term faux-mom. It's so awesome you could be there for Elizabeth and even though they didn't win, I'm sure just having you there was a huge thrill for her.

    Happy Monday!

    Megan xxx

  2. "Faux-Mom" works for us... as does the love we share. Happy Monday back at ya, Megan <3


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