Kellen’s basketball team lost its game today. While it would be very easy for me to sit here and tell you it was because the referees didn’t call the game fairly (which they totally didn’t) I won’t, because a) I hate parents who whine like that and b) it’s supposed to be for fun, after all, and c) did I mention I hate parents who whine like that????
But just so you know the level to which this lousy bit of refereeing extended, let me tell you, it was bad. It was so bad, that a few of our kids refused to play the second half, our coach threatened to forfeit the game if they couldn’t call the fouls more fairly, and even someone as “basketball-rule-challenged” as myself noticed the discrepancies. The other team had a player that was mentally and developmentally challenged, and the referees replied that they had to be lenient because he wasn’t capable of following the rules to the letter. That’s fine, but what about the other seven boys on the team who were allowed to elbow and shove and reach over the back and kick? (Yes, Kellen was actually kicked on purpose, after which point he told the coach he didn’t want to play any more and asked to sit on the bench the rest of the game. Charles Darwin would be so proud.)
The boys on our team were frustrated, and upset, and one boy got so angry his parents had to take him out of the gym. Anyway, all that to tell you it was pretty bad.
For someone who doesn’t like parents who whine, I just did a really good job of it, didn’t I?
Anyway, after the game, the parents and coaches on our team were talking to the players about what had happened, and trying to appropriately praise the boys who had handled this situation in the calmest, most mature manner. Sometimes in life things just aren’t fair, and it’s not your fault, and there’s not a lot you can do about it but control your own reaction ….. and this was one of those times.
In the van on the way home, I wanted to re-affirm what the coach had said, and Kellen and I had the following conversation:
Me: “I agreed with the coach that you handled the game well, Kellen, and I was proud of you.”
Kellen: “What do you mean?”
Me: “Well, I understand that even more than losing, plain and simple, that game just wasn’t any fun. It’s frustrating when the other team is getting away with things and it doesn’t seem fair. But you didn’t act ugly back, right?”
Kellen: “What do you mean, act ugly?”
Me: “Well, you didn’t kick anyone back, or push, or shove, right?”
Me: “And you didn’t elbow anyone, or get mad and call anyone names or anything, right?”
Me: “So see? You didn’t do anything wrong, did you?”
Kellen: “You know at the end of the game? How we have to walk down the line and slap all the hands of the other players and say 'good game' ?”
Kellen: “I licked my hand first.”