I watched the Grade 5/6 girls basketball team today. They were in another school against two opponents. I was thrilled to see them play after being on the west coast for nine days.
As the games ebbed and flowed, I saw 12-year-old kids that I love rocket down the court – sometimes making great plays and sometimes messing up. I realized that I wasn’t attached to the transcendent moments. My love especially extended to errant passes, missed free throws, “losing the handle”.
The NBA is full of astonishing athletes. Years ago, Michael Jordan could do seemingly impossible things with the basketball. But I didn’t love him, nor the other stars. Today was different. You go, girls! You gave it all you had … and I cheered.
Game Number One was with a less skilled team. The score quickly mounted to 12-0 and my thoughts turned towards the other folks. Being so outplayed can be such a blow to the ego, but these opponents kept holding their heads high, grabbing the ball after we scored a basket and motoring towards our end. We intercepted passes, blocked shots, and got in their faces, but those “others” didn’t give up. I was so proud of them. When they eventually scored a basket, the cheer from their fans was the biggest I heard all afternoon.
The final score was 28-7. We didn’t gloat. They didn’t slump. Two teams gave ‘er. In the large scheme of things, it didn’t matter that one team performed far better than the other. Everybody got to play, and play hard.
Game Number Two had us up against a school that has three times the number of students that we have. Our girls didn’t believe the stats. We had hands up in the opponents’ faces. We fought under the basket for rebounds. All of our missed shots didn’t slow us down a bit. At one point a player on the other team broke away towards the basket. One of our girls raced back and swatted the ball away as she was starting her layup. Brilliant … worthy of TSN’s Sportcentre highlight show!
The opposition featured powerful players and a stifling defense. But no heads hung low for us. We were behind 6-0 and then roared back. In the final minute of a 10-8 game, we must have had four shots, and none of them found the net. Still, the fury of our press to tie was a joy to watch.
Win one, lose one?
On the surface of things … yes
Fully alive for two?