Thursday, February 28, 2013

Grab a Box of Kleenex

Head over to Rachel's blog for a video gone viral that is sure to make you bawl, baby, bawl.

Rachel went on to relate a story that involved my son, Tim:

A few weeks ago, we had our last home games for Junior Varsity. There were two boys on the team who hadn’t scored yet (they hadn’t gotten tons of playing time this season, which is only nice in that it means we had a lot of close games that we actually won!). So this, our last home game, Paul put them in the game. 
You could tell the boys on the team were focused on getting the ball to those boys. A few minutes in, one of the point guards passed the ball to William. He shot that ball and…SCORED! I think it may have been a three. The gym went nuts. I looked across the court to see Paul (William’s dad) standing up with his arms raised in the air. I was standing next to my mom and we both had tears welling up in our eyes. His victory was his dad’s victory was the entire home team’s victory. 
The other boy, Tim, came in after that. The boys fed him the ball and he probably took about six or seven shots. He didn’t end up scoring, but I don’t really feel like that diminished all the love that was just pouring out of the stands for that kid. I know that sounds hokey but I don’t care. Everyone was chanting “Tim! Tim! Tim!” and I was proud to be a part of a school that knew exactly who that kid was and how badly they wanted him to score. 
Sports can be so awesome, y’all.

And in the comments, I wrote this:

Tim’s  Mom weighing in . . . 
The scene at our basketball game was something to watch, and several funny things happened after the game. 
First, Rachel’s oldest son, Ethan, was named MVP at the end of our tournament. He came up to Tim after the game, held out the trophy and said, “Really, Tim, this should go to you.” 
 “Yeah?” Tim asked. 
 “Uh . . . no,” Ethan said, shaking his head. 
And they both laughed. 
 A few days later I was asking Tim about the varsity team which, to put a positive spin on it, is in a building year. 
 “Why haven’t they won more games,” I asked Tim. 
 “Most of our best players are freshmen or sophomores,” he told me “But we are so good. In a year or two, we’re going to rock. We are, like, great athletes.” 
I was surprised by the reflexive way Tim used first person plural – we, and not third person plural – they
“Does it ever bother you that you’re not as good at sports as some of the other boys,” I asked. 
“Nah, I’m amazingly gifted in lots of other ways,” he informed me without the slightest trace of irony. 
“No self-esteem issues, huh, Tim?” 
“Uh . . . no.”

Since birthing my first child, I've thought long and hard about the maelstrom of motivations and emotions that comes with the job. Performance anxiety is one of them. Beginning with T-ball and ending with, well, I have absolutely no idea when it all ends and come to think about it, some of the struggles we moms face began l-o-n-g before T-ball when the mother sitting next to us at the park innocently said, "Janey slept seven hours last night," and we wondered why our kid had slept for just two.

It's walking and potty training, phonics and backyard soccer, the fourth grade play and the middle school honor roll.

For me, this game of compare and contrast pre-dates motherhood. I distinctly remember my niece's  first skating recital. Did I actually say or merely thinkHannah, you're the cutest one out there!

Whole volumes could be dedicated to The Pinewood Derby alone and its uncanny ability to sift the hearts of men (and mothers). The year Kolbe came in dead last in every single heat was a turning point for me and, honestly, I look at all this very differently today than I did then.

And I know this much is true: We love the children we're given. 

Never has this been clearer to me than this year when we've faced challenges of an entirely different nature. You can ring your hands and wonder Why, Why, Why or you can face them and get on with it.

I have a child in my atrium who faced a significant brain injury at birth. Today we sat around talking about the Pope's resignation, and I realized that most of my students are eight and under and have never known a different Pope. We went around the room, and I asked all their ages.

"How old are you, Elijah," I asked.

"Thirty-one," he informed us.

And we all laughed. He's hilarious and sweet and will likely never be able to do some of things other children do every day. 

We love the children we're given.

Last summer Rachel contributed a chapter to Style, Sex and Substance: 10 Catholic Women Consider the Things that Really Matter. I have a half-written book review on it and plan to give away a copy one day real soon, but here I'll highlight one simple but profound truth that Rachel learned from her mother and highlighted in her piece: Someone else's win is not your loss.

Behind that sentiment -- a sentiment that is simple to type but very challenging to live out -- is the knowledge that God is a loving, sovereign God. The physically challenged boy in the video, the brain-injured child in my atrium, the kid who tries but doesn't make a shot, the top player -- they are wholly loved by God and precious in His sight.

When I thought about Tim's exchange with Ethan and my exchange with Tim, I realized that Tim very much considers the school his school and the basketball team his basketball team. Ethan's win is not his loss. 

We need to be able to cheer someone else's success, to laugh at our own foibles, to shrug off some of our limitations.

I am heartened to live in an environment that encourages the One for All and All for One mentality, an environment in which friends can rib each other and share a laugh together.


Monica said...

"Someone else's win is not your loss."
Thank you for reminding me of that...I think I needed to hear that right now. When I feel that (ugly) feeling of jealousy, I will remember that.

Kris said...

I love that video. I've watched it over and over, and shown my husband, and my boys. I think what resonates is that I feel like my boys would do exactly that same thing (at least I hope!). And it makes me so grateful. I loved Rachel's post. And I love that her Tim is your Tim. And to me, THAT is the point of sports for boys - learning to be proud of the skills you have (no matter where they are on the spectrum), feeling like part of a team, and just contributing where you can contribute, to the best of your own ability. And what a wonderful way you encapsulated all of that with your beautiful words. Thank you, my friend!