As a Momma of boys, I spent many hours in the bleachers of a gym, field, and karate studio. My oldest loved everything about sports, still does. My youngest loved wearing the "costume" of whatever athletic event we encouraged him to try. It was one of the funnest times of my life, and I miss those days in the bleachers more than I thought I would.
One of the things every coach required was that the team had to form a line and shake hands after each game. Win or lose, you were expected to hold your head up and be a good sport. No gloating if you won, no pouting if you lost. That was sometimes a huge order for my extra-competitive son to grasp. It was also one of my favorite parts of the game. The boys were learning a life lesson every time they formed that line or knelt to pray with the other team after the rivalry. Their parents were learning as well.
It's hard to be on the losing side. You put your heart into playing your best, but your team comes up short. It causes a full range of emotions - sadness, anger, jealousy, regret.... and then you have to pick yourself up and try again the next game. My oldest son's friends were from all over the city because he attended 3 different schools. He competed against some of his best buddies. I always breathed a little sigh of relief when they would hang out after a fierce battle like nothing had happened. Sure, there was a little poking in fun, but the friendships remained rock solid. They remained kind, and even cheered each other on in their next contest. The parents were still watching.
I've seen many ugly things on social media through this election process from both sides. I've been surprised at who posted some of the mean comments. We would not have been allowed to stay in the bleachers if we had shouted some of the words that have been typed on social media. We would've never allowed our children to say some of the things we parents have posted. It's time to stop. Friendships are being lost. Families are cutting ties. The division is strengthening and the kindness is fading. It's breaking my heart.
Let's make a pact to be extra kind to each other, no matter what team you supported. Let's stop posting negative things about either candidate or party. Let's not reply in anger. Let's not call anyone names. It's time to follow the example our kids showed us after each of their games. It's time to line up, shake hands, and say "good game." Today is National Kindness Day. It's the perfect day to start. Won't you join me?
Here's some photos from Walk's good ole days as he learned what it meant to be a good sport. Thanks to all the coaches who taught him this valuable life lesson.