So, last night I bring TheBoy to his basketball game. For some reason known only to G-d Himself and the powers-that-be that run the local basketball league, they have scheduled a game for 5th and 6th grade boys from 8 - 9 PM. On a school night. So, needless to say, I did what any responsible parent would do when their child has a late night sports committment on a school night - I gave him an extra large slice of cake for desert and some Mountain Dew. That's how I roll. Don't judge me.
The team he was facing was *THAT* team. You know that team. The one with the REALLY overbearing father coaching. The one who was SCREAMING at the teenaged referee that our team only had possession of the ball for "HALF A SECOND" when he blew the whistle for a half-court defense violation (in this league, when a team takes possession of the ball at the opponent's side, the opponent has to go to half-court before they can go on defense. Thems the rules). His son, a decent player and an excellent outside shooter, played the majority of the game, as did the other "superstar" player on the team.
TheBoy was apprehensive about playing this team. They do have some great players, and they're known for playing rough and dirty (I watched the other "star" player grab my son by both shoulders and shove him down to the floor. I responded that he had my blessing to break the kid's nose with an elbow). They were undefeated coming into last night's game, and kids - as they will do - were trash-talking all over school yesterday. TheBoy was concerned that they were going to lose, and lose badly.
Well, the score did wind up being pretty lopsided:
They absolutely CRUSHED the undefeated team last night, and for one simple reason: they played very well as a team. They passed the ball, they set picks, they boxed out key players, they stuck with their man (they play man defense rather than zone at this level). They did everything just about perfect. TheBoy had a good game, too - he didn't score very many points, but he got about half of all defensive rebounds. It's pretty funny to watch - he's a joker on the court, laughing and hamming it up at "down" times, but when it's game time he's all business.
But that's not what got to me last night.
At one point late in the game, one of the players on the other team got injured. Ironically enough, it was by his own teammate - one of the "superstars" ran him over trying to get to the ball - and he went down in a heap. The whistle blew, the game paused, and the coaches gathered to see how bad he was hurt. The boys (and girls) are instructed (in all sports that TheBoy and BabyGirl G. have played) that when a player gets hurt during a game, they are to take a knee (go down on one knee). The reason for this (really it's to keep the rest of them from running around while the injured party is attended to), they are told, is to show respect for the injured player.
TheBoy was the only player on the court down on one knee.
There are moments - brief, but shining - when you realize that, yes, they do indeed listen, and they're becoming good people. I am incredibly proud of my son for his actions - he showed respect for the injured party, played by the rules, and did the right thing; even though he was the only one doing it. As I told him after the game, never feel bad about doing the right thing - even if he's the only one doing it, he's still doing the right thing.
He played a good game, did the right thing, and was rewarded with a decisive win - damn straight it was a good night.
That is all.