I don’t remember the last time I saw my oldest son cry.Ã‚Â I didn’t actuallyÃ‚Â see him cry yesterday whenÃ‚Â his high school basketball team lostÃ‚Â by two points.
After the small crowdÃ‚Â had gone home and only the two teamsÃ‚Â and the score keepers remained, I looked across the court to see my son’s face buried in his hands. ThenÃ‚Â he pulled hisÃ‚Â jerseyÃ‚Â over his face as several of hisÃ‚Â team matesÃ‚Â attempted to console him.
It had been a tough loss. His team had fought back after trailing by at least 13 points only to lose byÃ‚Â by two. It hadn’t beenÃ‚Â his best game. He still hadn’tÃ‚Â recovered from aÃ‚Â tornÃ‚Â rotator cuff suffered at the start of the season. HeÃ‚Â had scored and rebounded some, butÃ‚Â it was his hustle yesterday that I really admiredÃ‚Â -Ã‚Â playing defense,Ã‚Â wrestling for the ball while sprawled on the court, andÃ‚Â late in the game getting an opponents’Ã‚Â foul shotÃ‚Â nullifiedÃ‚Â when aÃ‚Â player onÃ‚Â the otherÃ‚Â teamÃ‚Â had stepped over the line too soon during aÃ‚Â foul shot.
But with one second on theÃ‚Â clock and his team down by two points, my son, who is 17, Ã‚Â was on the foul line to shoot two. IfÃ‚Â he hit both,Ã‚Â his team just mightÃ‚Â winÃ‚Â its first game of the season.
The first shot bounced off the rim. So did theÃ‚Â second.
I couldÃ‚Â guess how he felt. His teamates had named himÃ‚Â team captain after he had ledÃ‚Â them last year in scoring,Ã‚Â rebounding andÃ‚Â foul shooting.Ã‚Â But this day the shots did not go. He had let his team down and he had let himself down.
I walked across the courtÃ‚Â to him and rubbed hisÃ‚Â back and head. I told himÃ‚Â it was OK,Ã‚Â and that he had played a good toughÃ‚Â game, butÃ‚Â I don’t think he was buying it.Ã‚Â Only after the coach had calledÃ‚Â him a second time forÃ‚Â theÃ‚Â post-gameÃ‚Â meeting didÃ‚Â the jersey come down from his face.
LaterÃ‚Â I tried to figure outÃ‚Â whatÃ‚Â I would say to him. I felt badly for him. The loss and his missed shotsÃ‚Â hurt. What could I say? But I had another feeling that I couldn’t quite place. FinallyÃ‚Â I knew what it was andÃ‚Â what I would say – I wasÃ‚Â proud ofÃ‚Â him.
We talkedÃ‚Â after dinner last night, just the two of us, and itÃ‚Â was the closest I had been to this stubbornly independent boyÃ‚Â in a while. Maybe we did manage a win of sorts yesterday.