Wednesday, December 10, 2008

You'll never believe what I heard!

So, last night was the first basketball game of the 2008-2009 Season at our school. Redheaded Snippet is Captain so I went with great anticipation to see her play. There was so much excitement in the air, our girls won (39-20 I believe), and Redheaded Snippet scored 21 points! It was so much fun!

Sitting on crowded bleachers at a basketball game is always interesting because I always overhear things. Sometimes I catch up on the latest in-school drama. Sometimes I hear not-so-nice things about other people I really would rather not hear. But sometimes I get to hear nice, flattering things about Redheaded Snippet (thankfully, the only things I've ever heard about her have been good things).

Last night was one of those times. I happened to sit among people who didn't know who I am or whose mother I am, so their comments were completely uncensored and unsolicited. And by the time the game ended, I was fairly bursting with pride. Redheaded Snippet played excellently and there were lots of comments about her skill, speed, talent, and how much she's improved. But those weren't the comments I was proudest of, though they were nice to hear.

What made me well up with grateful tears were the comments I heard about my Snippet's character. I know, at a basketball game, people were talking about her character. One man said something about her speed and the woman next to him added, "And she's humble, too. I heard her Captain's speech and she told the team they can come to her about anything, even if it isn't about basketball. She's really sweet." Then, another woman, sitting elsewhere, made a comment about how she handles the ball and her friend said, "She's the one who is really nice to the younger girls."

It might not sound like much to you, but to me it was sweet music to my ears. There is a long, sad history of our school's team captains being arrogant, rude and disrespectful. Instead of displaying good sportsmanship, supporting the coaching staff and encouraging younger players, our best athletes have used their captain status as an excuse for prancing around strutting their stuff, making sure no one forgets they are better than everyone else because they are Captain. They undermined the authority of the coaches, picked on younger or less skilled players, and played their sport with the aim of getting as many goals, baskets or runs as they could.

Two years ago, when Redheaded Snippet suffered so much at the hands of the field hockey, basketball and softball captains, she decided she was going to do things differently when she got into eighth grade. And now, she's doing it. As one of the senior members of the teams, she refuses to tolerate any bullying of younger players. She makes a point of helping those with less skill and encouraging those with less confidence. She keeps her ego in check and reminds everyone on the team that they are all equally important. And, on the court last night, they played as a team, not as an insecure group of girls all vying for control of the ball.

Maybe the team will go all the way to the championship this year. Maybe Redheaded Snippet will set a personal record for points in a basketball game, or even a school record. Maybe she'll be named MVP. All that stuff would be great, and I would be proud of her, but as far as I'm concerned, all that pales in comparison to what I now know her reputation to be. I just couldn't be prouder.

Oh the things you overhear sometimes!


Pieceful Afternoon said...

Kinda makes a mother proud.

Why S? said...

Congratulations on a job well done!

Gene said...

Go Red Headed Snippet!

Ya done good, Pippajo.

Leila said...

Go Snippet! Isn't this what it's all about? Being a leader doesn't mean being captain; it means being a good captain!
You are rightfully proud of her!

Alyson Button Stone said...

I welled up; you are blessed, indeed. I hope you will come visit. I have a story about my daughter's christening that you would like, I think. It's called A Christmas Awakening. I will look forward to hearing what you think.