A week or so before the tournament, I was informed that parents of players are expected to cover four time slots during the tournament. There is only one of me, so I had to sign up for a lot. Thursday, I was on the “hospitality” team, supposedly seeing to the needs of the press, scouts and other VIP’s. I was to pick up trash and check the restrooms periodically. When I asked the person in charge, it seemed she had everything pretty much under control, so I just watched the game and picked up trash and checked the ladies’ room.
Last night, however, I was on concession stand duty. I like that job because you can be in doors. We did a roaring trade in hot chocolate and coffee! Ben had worked as a ball boy from 4:00 – 7:00, then he came home to get warm and dry and have some supper. Together we headed back at 8:30 for the night shift. He sat with the team while I did the concession stand. Throughout the evening, I kept adding layers of clothing until at the end, I looked rather like an Eskimo!
The really interesting part of this story, however, is the game. It had rained steadily and continued to do so through the evening. The grass field was rapidly becoming a swimming pool. However, unless there is lightning, they don’t cancel the game.
Of course the players all looked like drowned rats after five minutes of play. When the ball was kicked into the air and came to earth in a puddle, it just sat there instead of bouncing. Players would scramble to get to the ball, and then slip and slide in the water and mud, crashing into each other or sliding down altogether. If they kicked the ball as it sat in the water, it basically didn’t go anywhere, just floated over to the other side of the pool of water. For the players, it must have felt like they were pushing a string.
As I’ve reflected on the game and the adverse affects of the weather, I saw a few parallels to life. Sometimes, we are trying our hardest, playing our best, but it just isn’t good enough. We tumble over someone else’s efforts or just slide down due to unexpected conditions. We position ourselves where we think we need to be, only to find out that is the totally wrong place and we are caught off balance. Sometimes we connect with the issue at hand, but it proves to be immoveable despite our best efforts. Occasionally, though, we use our skills in just the right way and experience success.
Throughout this exercise, we learn how to cope with unusually circumstances, new parameters and to change our expectations to fit the situation. It is an excellent learning experience, and at the end, we may even enjoy a few dives into the pools of difficulty to enjoy sliding through the trials like a porpoise landing on a beach.
What’s the secret of success? Persevere! Don’t give up. Remember, that there may be fewer pools of challenge on the other end of the field. In the second half, you switch ends, and sure enough, Bearden won: 3-2.