Mason has been playing basketball this year, his first year and his second organized team sport. He never really got to the point where he understood the game, but he did improve, which is really all I wanted for him. The other boys on the team also improved, and the team was on quite a winning streak. Until last night.
Tournaments started on Saturday – all of the teams play, regardless of their pre-tournament record, and it’s a single elimination bracket. On Saturday morning, they won by several points, and of course the boys were all in a great mood. But I don’t know what happened last night. They all seemed to be off their game. It was freezing in the gym. No one could hit the basket. The other team was very aggressive, and seemed to run much faster than all of our boys. There were a couple of rough fouls early in the game, and a couple of calls (or lack thereof) by the referee that were questionable (for both teams). With 24 seconds left in the game, tied 6 to 6, the other team ran the clock down to 10 seconds before moving with the ball – something that I thought was an awful sleazy trick, considering these boys are only 5 – and so the game went into overtime. Three minutes later, the score was still tied. Double overtime. Then, 3 seconds before the second overtime was over, one of Mason’s teammates fouled another player. It was a fair call, but it meant that they would now get two foul shots, and making either one would end the game. The player missed the first shot by a mile. The second shot, of course, he didn’t.
It was just heart breaking. Those boys had never played harder. The game had been so close, neither side giving up points, it seemed like both teams should win. Of course, that couldn’t happen, and being a good loser is a lesson they will all have to learn sooner or later. But when the boys are only 5, is it really that important to teach them that lesson right now? I don’t know. If Mason’s team had won, I would have had a much more cheerful post, I suppose.
I do have to give all the credit to their coach, though. Through the whole season, he was encouraging and tried to help all of the boys become better basketball players. I never heard him yell in anger at any of the players. In fact, last night he apologized to the boys for being louder than usual during the game, and promised them a pizza party.
I’m glad the season is over, but I’m sorry that it ended like this.