20 July 2018

Another way

The phrase "soccer mom" generally refers to a married middle-class woman who lives in the suburbs and has school age children. She is sometimes portrayed in the media as busy or overburdened and driving a minivan or SUV. She is also portrayed as putting the interests of her family, and most importantly her children, ahead of her own The phrase derives from the literal, specific description of a mother who transports and watches her children play soccer. It was also used in names of organizations of mothers who raised money to support their children's soccer teams. The first reference to the phrase soccer mom in the US national media has been traced to 1982. In that year, the husband of the treasurer of the "Soccer Moms booster club" of Ludlow, Massachusetts, stole $3,150 raised for the benefit of a local soccer league. (from Wikipedia)
I don't remember the first time I heard the term "soccer mom," but I swore I'd never become one. I also swore I'd never drive a minivan or say, "Because I told you so!" to my kids. 

Yeah, well...

Then my son played soccer... softball... my daughters discovered that they liked volleyball and cheerleading (ugh... I still sigh over that one) and I tried to be present at as many of their sporting events as I could reasonably and feasibly attend.

Basketball has been the sport this school year. Five kids, five different teams. Some weeks, in between practices and games, it felt like all we did was basketball.

I loved it, even though it was exhausting.

Anna's basketball team played for the title in the final season tournament for their division. They played hard and won the bronze medal, second year in a row. Not bad for a team that never plays a home game (the gym at the school is not a full-sized gym) and only has access to that gym for one two hour practice per week.

However, their semifinal game broke my heart, and not just because they lost: 44 - 47.

They were playing a very good team, one with more resources, lots more opportunity to train, deeper bench and generally more skilled. However, our girls play with a lot of heart and had beaten this team in regular season play, in another nail biter of a game.

This game, however, there was a scoring/record keeping mistake. 

One of the gals on Anna's team drove for a lay-up, literally threading the needle to get to the basket, and scored. The electronic scoreboard showed the score immediately. But a few seconds later, the official scorekeepers took those two points away from Anna's team and then added them to the opposing team's total.

Friends, family, parents and other spectators cheering for Anna's team started immediately asking why. The ref went over to check the score sheets. Apparently, those two points had been marked... and tallied... in the wrong place and the ref left the score as it was: instead of 14 - 15 (leaving Anna's team one point behind), the score was now 12 - 17.

When one of the parents tried to insist, he was ejected from the game.

Is it possible that the other spectators present, all of those there and cheering for the other team, did not observe what happened? 

Yes, that is a possibility.

Is it believable that the other team's coach really didn't know what had just happened? 

Yeah... I guess, although I have a harder time swallowing that. In all honesty, however, I must add that I'm not naturally inclined to think the best of said coach as I was not impressed by the "coaching" demonstrated. 

Is it possible that our entire group of EVZone (Anna's team) supporters misunderstood and/or were mistaken and that the change was a just one? I guess - but I don't really think so. That's clearly some of my own bias showing.

The score remained 12 - 17. Our girls rallied, played hard, even had the lead a couple more times in the game - but in the end lost and ended up playing in the semifinals rather than the final game. 

I guess I don't know for sure. 

However, I hope that had the shoe been on the other foot, had a similar mistake been made that would have given Anna's team the advantage, that I would have chosen a different way. That I would have been the first to approach the refs and share my memory of what had happened.

For in my mind, herein is the real tragedy.

An opportunity was lost.

Once our kids get to that later high school/young adult stage, adults (parents included) must earn the right to continue to speak into their lives. Here, the adults present had an opportunity to teach a better, most excellent way - a way that sets personal desire and brief moments of glory aside, delighting instead in what is honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, true - and sometimes very difficult to do...  by denying self and choosing the other first.

I pray that the way my daughter saw modeled by her daddy and me, as we responded to what transpired at this game, fell into that better way category.

Because it is awful easy to get caught up in a soccer mom mentality, willing do whatever it takes to see my kid succeed.

Winning the battle.

But what do I risk losing when I choose the temporary and immediate satisfaction of a less excellent way?

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