Those of you who have been following me for a while know that I’m a huge sports nut—-football, baseball & hoops—but that my teams, the Mets, Giants & Knicks, basically stink. I’m not a Yankee fan (if fact I might be considered a Yankee hater) but I’ve been following the ARod drama closely. It’s proved to me that one of my mantras, “There’s no such thing as loyalty”, almost always applies. As long as ARod was hitting home runs while excelling at the game and selling tickets, making the owners richer & the league more popular, no one cared what he did to himself. As he aged (as we all do) and his ability waned the major beneficiaries of his prior prodigious production turned on him. This was a great example of another of my cynical mantras, “It’s always about the money”.
For years I’ve been telling my grandkids that sports, at their level, should be fun. Leave it to the pros to make it a serious, life or death, win at all costs confrontation similar to the Roman gladiators. While you can, enjoy the competition, play as well as you can while always playing by the rules and do your best for your team and yourself. Remember there is no “I” in teams. Personal achievements and stats are secondary to the team.
My grandson Charlie has worked very, very hard to become a skilled, multi talented, triple threat basketball star on his prep school team. While the team overall is young, inexperienced and lacking in depth it has enjoyed some exciting wins this season and unfortunately absorbed difficult losses. For the most part, Charlie has been a team first, me second guy.
Last week their team was overmatched and beaten badly by a far superior team. It wasn’t fun to watch especially when Charlie lost his “cool”. After the game he knew his stats weren’t good, his behavior was unsportsmanlike and that he didn’t help the team very much in spite of scoring a bunch of points.
Now comes the good part. Yesterday the teams had a rematch and while the overall results were similar, Charlie’s team lost by 20 points, my grandson’s attitude was dramatically different. His first words to me coming off the court at the game’s end were “ We played better, I had fun but the other team was just much better than us”. FYI Charlie scored half his team’s points, got most of his team’s rebounds, guarded the other team’s best player and had a few steals. According to the stat sheet he had a terrific game.
My happy conclusion was “he got it”. He understood that as long as he played as well as he could for HIS TEAM, maintained his composure and worked hard, it could be fun even in a loss. As a doting, proud grandfather I’m thrilled that Charlie is proof that its not “always about the money” and that teenagers growing up in a “me first” world can get it together a lot better than the pros.
I’m sure I’ll blog more about Charlie as the season continues. I’d like to hear from you too. Email me at [email protected]