My grandson is in the 8th grade this year. It is the second time he has gone out for a school sport where your skills determine whether you make the team or not. He made the track team last spring and gave it his best.
This year he made the soccer team. He has been playing soccer since he was four years old… back in the day when he was chasing butterflies and girls rather than paying attention to what was happening on the field. He has gotten better over the years as experience and desire help to build a better skill set.
This Summer he even played on a league in Randleman to help him with more experience.
Some kids, whose parents are loaded with money send their kids to these soccer leagues/ teams that cost 2 and 3 thousand dollars a year to play. They are taught not by the dad down the street who is giving his precious extra time to help kids have a team to play on. No, these elite kids are taught by soccer professionals – who teach them all the down and dirty about the game. These kids are aggressive, skilled at how to get the advantage (trip and push the other player) without getting caught.
Well, that was the team Noah played against tonight. And to add insult to injury, the officials seemed to call fouls on our team when the supposed offender was a yard or more away from the Academy Award winning player who fell (as if they were knocked to the ground). Noah’s team lost 6 to 0 with broken spirits.
I really felt bad for them. But there was nothing I could do except hug Noah and let him know he played well – even if he didn’t win. I wanted to say something to the officials but that would not have been good. I wanted to say something to the lawyer looking guy (dad) from their team who sat near us in his Neiman-Marcus European fold up chair, but that would have been even worse. I know I would have lost my cool.
Life is not fair! Games are not fair! Officials don’t see it all and see it differently than we do. We have to learn to accept it for what it is and then move on. I am trying to do that now with the television screaming that stupid Tarheeeeeeeel noise in my ear. For a Duke fan that is not something I want to hear. I am waiting for SC to score over and over again. I use to tolerate that school but not now… not after the 18 years of academic cheating especially to allow failing athletes to take nonexistent courses to get A’s so they can remain eligible to play. Next spring the NCAA will strip UNC down to s school on 5 years of probation, no scholarship, on post season play, countless games and championships vacated. It will probably take them 15 years to get through this. I have no use for UNC whatsoever (but that is my prejudice. That is what I have to work on within my own heart). I have UNC grads who are my friends whom I hold in the highest respect and honor. They are people of integrity who would never be involved in cheating or support it in anyway. This scandal probable hurts them more than it bothers me. For them I am sorry.
Here is the thing: Sometimes we win. Sometimes we lose. Sometimes the game gets rained out. Sometimes cheaters win and honesty loses. Sometimes we jump for joy and sometimes we fall to the ground in agony. I have been in all those situations. Hopefully I have learned to be a better sportsman because of all of it… better than I have expressed in my Tarheel paragraph above.
If your grandson is on the ground in agony, hold him, love him, let him know it will get better. Let him talk… listen carefully. Lift him up right now… he needs it.
O God, I don’t always do it or see it correctly. I have a big prejudice when it comes to cheaters. Help me to be tolerant of others as you are tolerant of me. I know I have a long way to go when it comes to those involved in the Chapel Hill scandal. Forgive me and lead me in the path that promotes healing, forgiveness and restoration. Above all this stuff, help me to be a soft place for my grandchildren to land when they are hurting or in need. In and through Jesus. Amen.