[Warning: for a reason I cannot place, I have been on a tare all week. It could be my impending “officially old” birthday that is fast approaching… Nonetheless, I have been a little bit of a loose cannon this week. Be warned, somewhat of a rant and sarcasm fest straight ahead.]
My 10 year old son plays basketball–and I do mean plays. He’s not the worst kid on the team by any means, but that’s not saying much.
There are only eight boys on the team. Of these eight, only two have proven in a game they can make a basket and only about four have made baskets in practice. Typically their games end with final scores of 2-34 or if it’s a good night 4-29 (meaning defense picked it up, too).
I know, I know, they’re ten and it might seem like I’m picking on them. But, I assure you, I’m not. Even at the game, I give my son and his fiends a big cheesy grin and even a high-five if they don’t think it’s too embarrassing to be seen with their mom.
But that’s the thing: they act embarrassed that to be seen with their parents…yet it doesn’t faze them a jot they just got their butts handed to them?! The other team is over there cheering and hooping and hollering at their victory (okay, this has died down a lot since the start of the season too as it’s become expected that they’re going to cream this specific school) and our boys finish and they’re not sweaty, not upset, nothing. Just chatting about Legos or the concession stand or a book or whatever. Anything except basketball!
And before anyone wonders, yes, my son WANTS to be on the team. I did not push it. He asked if he could and I made it work. Can’t speak for the other kids, but mine wants to be there. (Boggles my mind, too. 😀 )
This week as I sat in the gym tapping my bootheels on the floor at halftime my mind drifted back to 16 years ago when I was in school and wanted to be on the basketball team. I was 13 and in the eighth grade. I went to a little church school of about 200 kids spread out from 1st to 10th grade (insurance and licensing costs go up drastically for 11th & 12th grades in private schools) and they had a boys and girls basketball team for 7 & 8th grade and a boys and girls team for 9th & 10th.
Now, I wasn’t one who had aspirations of making it to the WNBA, however, I could make a basket. Well, about one in two..or three. But it could be done. I showed up for basketball and did my laps and pushups and drills and all that crap. I looked around and thought, “Eh, I’m a shoo in.” I wasn’t that bad and believe me, there were girls there who made fewer shots than I did. There weren’t many of them, mind you, but there was at least one. Not only that, never in all the years I’d attended that school had anyone not made the team. Sure, a few girls had more play time than anyone else, but nobody didn’t make it on the team.
Until that year.
That year, I think some 23 girls started out in practices and after three weeks it was down to 21. Two got cut. I was one of those two.
Shock overcame me and I couldn’t voice my question, “How the heck did Shari make it, but I didn’t?” Instead, I stood stock-still next to the other girl who was also being “excused from practice…indefinitely” and stared blankly at the man who’d just informed us. I knew I wasn’t going to make history in the world-wide game of basketball, but I didn’t expect to make it the basketball history at that school, either!
I don’t know about the other girl, but I was literally paralyzed in disbelief for what felt like a good 10 minutes. The longer we stood there, the more that “coach” (I’m using that word loosely–he was the father of my nemesis so I have a feeling that played a part, too) kept running his mouth trying to justify his decision until finally the stupidest reason I’d ever heard for someone being cut from a middle school basketball roster came out:
“What it comes down to…” He rubbed his hands together. “Well, Rose and Michelle, you’re too short.”
I was flabbergasted. Yeah, good players are tall. But this isn’t the WNBA or even college. These are a bunch of 7&8th grade girls. We’re all short!!
Moreover, what exactly am I supposed to do about that? Walk around on stilts?
As that delightful memory came back to me the other night I had to laugh. I always laugh about that night, to be honest. It’s so stupid that it’s funny. But the other night it was even funnier. I grew up in a time when you were cut off sports teams for a reason that was totally ridiculous and even if your parent threw a fit, it didn’t get you back on the team and only 16 years later, my son plays during a time when nobody is cut off for any reason no matter how they play and they’re all given equal playing time.
I don’t necessarily agree 100% with either circumstance. I personally think kids who show motivation and initiative should be given a chance to play–even if they’re not the best. BUT, that shouldn’t mean that the whole team should just accept and celebrate that they’ll never win because everyone needs to have equal playing time.
Okay, there’s my story and thoughts for the day!
Have an awesome afternoon!