Today is a day to learn about winning and losing.
Arms around each other in a circle. Swaying back and forth. Words of encouragement from the coach repeated over and over. They are feeling everything. They are hearing some of the words. They are ten-years-old.
They bring so much grit and sweat while hiding the tears and loudest cheers while they are with their teammates.
This is not a generation that shows emotions. Look at the swagger of their role models. Look at their posture after the game.
Yet they are bringing so much to each game, their fingers can almost touch their toes. Their hustle can almost tip the scales. Yet they have to race back to defense after swishes into the net from the three-point line. Stay focused.
The coach is in their face as they struggle so hard to look them in the eye. The coaches build their team with passion, guts and hard work “EXECUTE!” “DEFENSE!” “ARE YOU ALIVE OUT THERE?”
It gets wild in the stands during the game with families taking sides, then it is all over. Babies that were sleeping wake up. Men wearing extra large versions of their son’s shirts shake hands. Moms start to gather the little kids and figure out where to eat.
There were over 300 teams in Akron this weekend for the Coach Dru Joyce Classic.
Referees became the rule of law for 24 minutes, then changed their black/white striped shirts and checked their phones. Buzzers blasted from scoreboards. New shoes screeched up and down the courts. Team benches were moved into like a messy closet then vacated. Gatorade, sticky pads that prep shoes, knapsacks filled with hoodies and street sneakers. White earbuds curled under big hair. Toes pointed down and hands reached for the heavens. It was all perfectly choreographed, then it was over with a medal, a pose, and car trunks being filled up.
It was Sunday. Tomorrow is school and work.