Last night, my husband and I breathed a sigh of relief as the final buzzer of the last game of the season ended. In our opinion it had been a long season of watching our son’s team beaten by 20-30 points each game.
As we watched the boys gather together for their post game talk another picture emerged. A sister of one of the boys walked over holding a poster she had made with the team name and each of the boys’ names. They looked so proud.
It was obvious that my competitive ideals did not match up with that of the tight group of boys in the hall. They were all smiles. They felt proud of what they had accomplished and how they played the game. We walked out of the school listening to the boys tell each other “Good Game” with smiles on their faces.
Before bed I was talking with my son. He told me how his team was the best team he had ever played on. This caught me by surprise and I asked him to explain why. He told me that “there are no stars. Everyone is equal and treats each other that way.” I had to stop and think of how proud I am of this 14 yr old who values relationships over winning the game.
Each year the basketball association asks for parent volunteers. Often, the parents who step up are doing this, not because they have knowledge or love for the game, but because they want to do what’s best for the kids. The coach that we had watched from the sideline and we wondered what he was doing may not have taught my son the technical side of the game but was sending a much bigger message. Sportsmanship, self-confidence and the value of friendship.
The lesson on and off the court (for both players and fans): It’s not whether you win or lose but how you play the game.