I experienced my first play-off game with my middle son yesterday. I was apprehensive because I knew we didn't have much chance of beating the team we were pitted against. Would there be injuries, would the boys try hard, would they be disappointed with a loss?
We watched our boys fight hard throughout the game. They never gave up and always tried their best until the end, 21-0. They lined up to shake hands with the winning team and turned to walk back to the bench to listen to one last talk from their coach and say goodbye to football for another season.
As they turned toward their bench, the bleachers full of parents all stood in unison to give our boys rousing applause complete with cat calls and cowbells. We hooted and hollered as if we'd just won and the boys stopped and looked at all of us, confused. Finally, one dad's voice could be heard over the din "We're proud of you! We're proud of you!" Their coach turned around, surprised and touched, and waved to the crowd with tears in his eyes.
Yes, that is what we all wanted to say, what we all meant as we stood clapping for this team of boys who worked so hard all season. Small 7 and 8 year old boys who practiced and played in 90 degree heat and 30 degree snow flurries, they persevered and came together as a team. They learned so much about discipline and teamwork, friendship and sportsmanship. We are all so proud of you boys, win or lose.