Good sport

Last night, Grandpa and I went to Unity to watch Griffin play one of his last basketball games. He’s one of 2 seniors that stuck it out all four years. They started as freshmen with 15 players. He’s not the “star” of the team. There are a couple juniors and a sophomore who start, leaving Griffin to be the 6th man. He’s on the bench most of the game, but will go in for a few minutes to give the other guys a break. He’s the guy who claps and cheers and high-fives his teammates. He goes to practice, plays hard, and listens to the coach. At 5’9″, he accepted a long time ago that he wouldn’t be the star of his team. He didn’t want to quit, although it had to have been tempting. He’s put in a lot of hours, and I imagine he’ll be glad when the season ends. He has other things to focus on. He’s ready to go to college. He’s a finalist for the Presidential Scholarship. Griff did really well on his ACT, and is looking toward his future. My sister and I have fun at the games. I say things to keep it in perspective, but mostly just funny things because we know in a few months, high school basketball will be just a memory. For some, it will be the best it ever was. We sat behind the team last night, where I enjoyed watching the coach get out of sorts and throw his arms around and yell. Luckily he didn’t yell at Griffin. My sister does not appreciate the yelling. It’s easier when it’s not your own kid. It doesn’t take long to see the personalities of each player.  There is one player that stands out. I like watching him play. I watched him talking to Griffin on the bench. His dad played college ball. I can only imagine the pressure he’s been under his whole life to live up to that. He may get to play at the junior college level. There’s another hot shot on the team. He’s a gunner, and he takes the ball to the basket. Every. Time. The problem is that he doesn’t make it every time. Then he throws a fit when he’s benched. The coach got down in his face, put his hand gently on his face and coddled him. “I haven’t seen this attitude from you in a long time. Look at the score.” They were winning by at least 30 points. I looked at Jana, “Let the other kids play.” That’s not how it works, and I knew it. Sure enough, within 1 minute, the Attitude was back in the game. The coach called a time-out to yell at his starters. They were fighting with each other. They needed to pull it together. NOW!” I looked at Jana. “Put Griffy in. He has a good attitude…” Then the coach commenced to yell at the bench about how the starting 5 needed to pull it together. I’m sure a lot of people look back with fond memories of high school sports. Those screaming coaches had their utmost respect. Best years of their life. For some people, I’m afraid it is. It shouldn’t be. Griffin was the first to jump up and shake hands with the other team. The coach has told Griffin that he’s a leader on the team. I told Jana that maybe the coach will give him a leadership award. She kind of giggled, “yeah right.” As I watched the Attitude move Griffin over a seat so he’d be next to the coaches who immediately started patting him and coddling him, I leaned over to my sister. “You know, this shows and says a lot about what kind of a man Griffin will be. One of the other mothers has commented that Griffin might not start, but he’s in National Honor Society. Her son is a starting sophomore, and she knows how frustrated Jana must be. After the game, Griffin came up to thank us for coming to his game. It was our pleasure. He played hard when given a chance, and even though he wasn’t the star of the team, I got to see qualities far more valuable…

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