Saturday, February 13, 2016

Participation Trophies

These two kiddos of mine got trophies today.

Their team didn't win a game. (except the one time the other team had to forfeit)

Three girls out of the seven on their team had never touched a basketball

The redraft that is supposed to happen every year didn't, so they were playing teams who had been together with the same coach for four years. 

The first two games were blow-outs. So bad they stopped keeping score for the other team.

Going to be a looong season. 

Hope didn't even want to play. We had to bribe her so the team would have enough kids. 

Three months later.

She brings the ball down like a boss. Quick little point guard. Gets to the corner faster than the defense. Swish. Sets screens like its her job.     

Eva is all about fun. She waves her arms like a banshee in the face of the girl she is guarding. No girl is gonna shoot over her. She is determined. Clutch at the foul line. Get it into her at the post, and she will get a shot off. Never stops grinning. 

And because their team was small, Eva and Hope pretty much had to play every quarter of every game. Red faces and pouring sweat. Legs that feel like lead. Hustling down the court. They can do this all day.

And those three girls that had never even dribbled?

Today I watched those three girls set up plays, make break away layups, and pass it in to the post. All but one scored at some point throughout the season. We cheered like they had just won the Super Bowl.

I watched this team of seven learn not to travel or double dribble; to grab the ball and hold onto it, shoot a layup, and not hang out in the paint; how to press when the clock is running out, how to get the ball in when it looks like no one is open, block a shot without fouling, drop below a screen and pull down a rebound. 

I watched them not give up.  

There was an article that went viral a few months ago about a dad who gave his kid's participation trophy back. They hadn't won. No prize deserved.  

I think I probably even shared it on my social media pages.

Because that is what I used to think. I distinctly remember rolling my eyes at Preston when the girls got trophies last year. Want the prize? Be the best. Yank on those bootstraps. Work harder. Shoot more baskets. Want it more than the next kid. Get mad. Be better

I am in no way disregarding doing your best, giving it all you have, and the value of hard work. Run in such a way as to win the prize and all that. Yes. Amen and testify.

But it doesn't say, if you run that way and don't win the prize, you deserve nothing. What's the point in playing if you don't win? The only effort recognized is the one that came out on top. We only give diplomas to the valedictorian.

I don't read that at all.

And I'm sure glad that isn't what the Gospel says, or I'd be headed to hell in a handbasket, because these people I live with can affirm that I am not Mother of the Year and frequently sin against them what with all my yelling and nagging.  

So maybe you don't want your kid to get recognized unless they are "the best." #1. Winner of the league/town/county/Super Bowl.

But in my book, this little team of seven, this team who came so far, this team who had everything stacked against them from the day of the nondraft - this team deserves public recognition.

(And so does their super hot redneck coach.) 

They ran in such a way as to win the prize. 

But they didn't win. Not once.  

So should I give those trophies back?

I'm going to put them on my mantel.

Grace for The Ones Who Give it Everything They Have and Come in 9th,


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