Today marked the conclusion of my son’s first season of youth basketball. His team finished 0-9.
One might think that the record is disappointing. One might think that, after so many losses, my son and his teammates hung their heads, cried into their pillows, moaned and sighed and questioned their fates in life.
We had a team party this evening at our house. There was pizza and cake and chips and soda and lemonade. A couple of hours earlier, our win-lacking Wolverines were eliminated from the postseason (every team made it) with a pretty sound thumping at the hands of yet another superior team. Throughout the season, our average margin of defeat was, oh, 15 points. Our defense was lacking, our rebounding atrocious. We probably shot 10 percent from the field.
And it doesn’t mean shit.
The games were fun. The kids learned. Yeah, a few of the boys were sad after losses. But mostly, it mattered nary an iota. They played hard, played to win, lost a whole lot, enjoyed the process. Which should be yet another reminder to us all that youth sports aren’t about winning—no matter how badly some of the more obnoxious parents crave victory. Nope, youth sports are about lessons, and togetherness, and bonding, and learning. And, most important, fun. Lots and lots of fun.
Childhood soars past. You blink, it begins. Blink again and you’re off to college. The amount of time we waste trying to win at all costs is jarring. The amount of time we spend pushing our tykes to be the next LeBron or Tiger or Verlander is equally jarring.
The eight members of the Wolverines aren’t destined for NBA futures.
But they ate some damn good cake.
And smiled doing so.