Tonight I was reminded of the goodness of team sports. I watched Isaiah’s tournament game, and in some ways, it was basketball at it’s best. Our team won, which is always fun, but that is not what made tonight sweet.
There is always something sweet about the opening prayer at the start of these games.
And then it is the moments when they are playing their hearts out, giving high five’s, helping each other up from the floor after a dive is made for the ball or encouraging each other after missed shots that inspire my soul.
Tonight there was a moment when a boy on our team shot to the wrong basket and made it. His eyes welled with tears, and I could feel the shame that filled his body. He struggled for the next number of plays. Up and down the court I could see his red cheeks and his watery eyes. He was trying to shake it off.
And in that, the kids kept playing. They rallied around him with a pat on the back and a word or two that seemed to say you’re ok, but they did not rescue him. They engaged his shame and did not let the shame win. The coaches left him in the game, the plays continued, and in time, this young fellow was back and entirely present.
The game was fun, the kids played hard, but most impactful to me was watching the kids engage one boy’s shame with kindness, truth, and love.
I wonder what you do when you feel shame. Do you stay in the game and press on? Does your face express honestly what you are feeling and do you allow your friends to remind you of what is true? I believe that as we grow older, we learn to hide our emotions and shame. Tonight reminded me of the goodness of being young and engaging in the good spaces and in the difficult spaces.
I am thankful for that sweet blonde boy who so innocently made a basket for the other team. It gave me a picture once again of living life honestly in the presence of peers and receiving the love that a community of friends can offer.