Saturday, February 23, 2008

It's All About Teamwork

I am not a morning person, to put it mildly. Waking up before 7:30 a.m. puts me out. Imagine the glee when my middle son had a basketball game across town at 8 o'clock this morning. That meant a 6:00 a.m. alarm.

"You're freaking kidding me," I said to my Lovely Bride last night, except I didn't say "freaking."

"I've got a class," she responded. "What am I supposed to do?"

"How about drop out of school?" I answered, not unreasonably.

"Boys, avoid your father tomorrow," she told the kids.

When one isn't used to waking up early the fear of sleeping through the alarm leads to overcompensation. By 4:00 a.m. I was awake and no mind games or prayer were going to put me back to sleep. By our 7:00 a.m. departure a hot drill bit was working its way through my head.

Fortunately the team my son was facing had mothers who'd developed cheers, loud cheers. As God is my witness, they started chanting before the game started.

"There's going to be an incident here," I warned our coach.

"It happens," he replied, not without sympathy.

We lost the game, barely, after climbing back from almost a twenty point deficit. With ten seconds left we missed two free throws and a rebound to lose by one point. My kid was almost in tears but he made a point of shaking hands with the other team and then walking across the court to thank the referee.

"Good man," I told him afterward. In the middle of things it's hard not to hope for a win but in the end I don't really care. I love to watch them play.

"Whatever," he said.

"Good man," I repeated, making sure he was looking at me and knew I meant it.

We got home and I told the boys I needed a nap before the next game. Upstairs, I pulled a pillow over my head and tried to sleep. Soon I heard the unmistakable sound of a punch, followed by a scream, followed by one kid chasing another. I got out of bed.

"Children," I said. "I love the pitter patter of your feet on the stairs and your voices are music to my ears. I'm almost embarrassed to ask you, but could you be just a little quieter so I can rest before we spend the rest of this delightful day together?"

"Of course, Father," they said in unison. "Anything for you."

More or less.

When I got up again it was off to middle son's second game. His team has a remarkable ability to play up or down to the opponent's level. This afternoon it was down. Behind almost immediately, that's where they stayed until my kid jacked a three pointer to get within reach and then, with nine seconds left, one of his teammates made a twisting, improbable layup to go ahead by two points, pulling off a come from behind victory for a team not exactly known for come from behind victories.

From there it was off to my youngest's tournament. All I wanted was a one easy game to watch, win or lose. Four periods later it was overtime, two minutes of brawling, on the floor basketball, until my boy got up to the free throw line, hit one of two, and his team held on to squeeze out a victory.

Three games, a total point spread of four. It pretty much killed me. Except, getting home I found my oldest had cleaned the house and started making dinner.

"Dad, I need you to get me to tennis next weekend," he said as his brothers tore upstairs to shower and change. I looked around the house, sinks polished, dishes put away, floors mopped.

Not a problem. Not a problem at all.


Anonymous said...

you have trained them well :-P

Anonymous said...

getting home I found my oldest had cleaned the house and started making dinner.


You are awesome! Wow! You and The Lovely Bride must be doing a *ton* of things right.

Snag, my best friend's son is 16 and 2nd in his weight class in their state in wrestling. Talk about not being able to *enjoy* watching something your kids are doing. Not that you don't enjoy it -- but, have you ever been to a wrestling match? My God! I have chills just thinking about it.

I'm going to email her a link to your blog. She'll love the way you write about your boys -- the sports -- the adoration and love they shower you with! Don't count on her to comment though. She won't even comment at my blog. She's got commentaphobia or something.

Kathleen said...

nice. In other news, you have convinced to have only one child. At most.