Monday, December 11, 2006

First basketball game

Last year we were the Bad News Bears of kindergarten basketball. All the other teams were pretty much guaranteed a "win" (not that anyone kept score of course) when they played against our team. One of the only baskets we scored all year was because the coach for the other team told his players to back off and let our team get a basket.

Saturday, we were the taller team. The one with the kindergartners who look like 3rd graders compared to the other team. Several guys (my two sons included) were playing for the second year. One guy showed up for the first time yesterday. Aside from not dribbling the kid could shoot, pass the ball accurately, play defense and rebound. He's six years old. After 20 minutes we had 12 baskets while the green team had none. My guys were responsible for half of them.

This time I was the coach telling the kids to back off. You should have heard the green team parents cheer after the ball went into the basket. It was the sweet sound of "you did it!". One of my sons though was devastated that first of all I told them to back off and then I cheered for the green team. He was so upset he started to cry.

After the game, I had a little pow-wow with the team to congratulate them and remind them to practice dribbling ("People this is basketball, not football"). As we were talking, a really small boy in a too big green shirt was circling our team with tears streaming down his face calling us "the yucky white team". He was so upset (where were his parents to help him through this?) that it broke my heart. Which led to a stern conversation in the car.

"We'll play well this year and probably get a lot of baskets. I'll cheer for you and celebrate your good plays. Do not, though, under any circumstances be mean to the other team. Remember how sad you were after every game last year? It is hard to not get a basket. O.k.?"

One guy "yes Mom."

The other one "just don't cheer for the other team."

I've got some work to do.


Kate said...

Ahh, the joys of sports competition!

Jenn in Holland said...

Yep. We've been on the losing team and it is just so heart-breaking to watch the young athletes struggle with defeat. Repeated defeat.
I also find it interesting how quickly they seem to forget how that felt and once on the winning side do all the gloating necessary to bring the other guys down.
We have taught them to have "silent celebrations" over the made baskets, or the excellent report cards, so they can enjoy the moment for themselves without harming the feelings of others around them.
You know me, always thinking about the other guy....