Sunday, September 14, 2014

Sweet and kind Grace

I am on the verge of collapsing from sheer exhaustion, so you will have to forgive my potential jumbly text. It was an early afternoon day of soccer for G and her team. We noticed immediately that there were girls on the team we had played with before...some even on our former teams, so it was about to get weird. When playing friends, the speech of "On the field you are not friends, you are competitors" is often mentioned by parents. It's just business, baby. There were some on the opposing team that made a potential win that much sweeter, I'm not going to lie. We started off rough. G was thrown off and had two scored on her. Made her pretty frustrated. She's pretty tough on herself. The girls started to wake up and her friend E drew first blood. Then we tied it up just in time for half time. On the opposing side, there was a keeper change. A friend and former teammate who had joined club to get more touches on the ball and had been shoved into the goal instead. Keeper is a position you have to want, not one you are forced into, so I know the mother was nervous. While it was a point of contention for some of the opposing fans, our team found a way of exploiting weakness and scored several goals in a row. That is called competition. A couple may have been some the keeper could have prevented, but most were a failure of her defense and lack of training on her coach's part. One particular goal had her down in the goal, unable to get up out of sheer frustration and anger. As a mother, my heart hurt for her. Come on, coach. Take her out and give her a break. Our parents started yelling and cheering for her. "Shake it off, keeper!" and "Stay strong, girl!!" and "Don't let it get you down...keep your head up!". We had a decisive win which was extra nice since they were a division up and a head taller. The oppoosing keeper walked, dejected, across the field towards her mother. She was clearly crying and upset and rightfully so. G handed her water jug to me and ran out on the field, embracing her friend and competitior. I could see her whispering in her ear and pat her on the head. The hub and I spoke to her as well. She couldn't speak. I was outraged that the other parents on her team did not try to cheer her up...let her off the hook some. It is just a game after all. Not an audition for a scholarship at 11. G can frustrate me more than any other human on this planet, probably because she is just like me in almost every way. But I'll tell you I was so humbled and proud at her show of sportsmanship and just basic humanity to a devastated friend. Made up for every tweenish eye roll I receive, friends. What a kid. What decent kid.

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