Written Friday Night:
Tonight I went to the Southwood vs. Oak Hill basketball game. I’m somewhat of a homebody, so staying home really sounded more appealing. But I had not been to any of my nephew, Matthew’s, ball games this year, and I felt a bit guilty for not being supportive enough. My husband, Mike, had been to several, but most of those were during the week, and I knew I wouldn’t be able to sleep after the excitement of a game, and there’s the reality of having to get up early to go to work.
Tonight was a Friday night, though, and sectionals! I arrived at the game and found a seat beside my sister. She informed me that it was going to be an upset if we won, as we had not ever beaten Oak Hill! At first, I felt defeated and a bit bummed, because I didn’t want to see them lose, but then I remembered that the power of positive thinking can do a lot!
As you probably guessed by now, we got that upset! We won!!! It was a most intense game, and I was impressed with how much Matthew has improved from last year. My ears are still ringing from the roar of the crowd. It was so exciting and fun!!
During the game, I found myself so aware of the crowd and the emotion that they were all experiencing, and afterward, I realized the many reasons that these people go to the game. Some are old guys who used to play basketball in their youth, and they are there reliving their glory days. Some are parents who are living vicariously through their children, or just there to support and pray that their child finds happiness in the game. And I’m sure there are many other reasons, but as I was thinking about all this, and realizing how much fun I had watching and cheering, praying and calling upon my deceased dad to help Matthew find his confidence in his ability, I found gratitude. Gratitude that these young men get out there and put on a show for us spectators. Because, you realize, that’s what it is. It’s not much different than when Matthew’s sisters sing or play musical instruments or perform in plays – only ball games have the goal of winning.
I wonder if these ball players realize the gift that they are giving to their audience. The spectators are drawn out of their ho-hum lives, the daily grind, into this excitement and competition, hopes and dreams – if only for that couple of hours. And it gives them something uplifting to talk about the next day – instead of the usual who has cancer or who just died or what they’re going to eat for dinner or what chores need done or what bills need paid and all the other troubles and routine that seem to build up in adult lives.
I wonder if they realize – that ball game is NOT just about winning or getting the most points. It’s much larger than that. It’s about giving joy to the world. And I just want to say thank you to my nephew, Matthew, for getting out there, playing the game, doing the work, taking the criticism that others always have to give, and for taking the risk that any performance holds. And I just hope that he sees the bigger picture. And I hope that he feels gratitude for himself and his teammates. Win or lose, it doesn’t matter. Because you played the game! And I thank you for that!
I think a ball game is like life. It’s not about the end result. It’s the journey.