January 16, 2014

I Love Jesus but I Yell at the Refs a Little

I know several years ago a hilarious viral clip from the Ellen show made the rounds through all my social media.   I Love Jesus But I Drink a Little shows Ellen returning a call from one of her viewers, who seems to be a faithful watcher although elderly.   Watch this hysterical clip.  You will thank me later.  When I was trying to come up with a title for this post, I kept thinking of Gladys.

We watch A LOT of basketball these days,  January means basketball.  All four of my offspring have played on teams at different times.  One year in Montana, we had four teams going at once.  Yep, four.  The supermom cape was flying high in the snow that winter.  Now we are in the South, and we've learned that down here in the sun, basketball is a completely different monster. 

 Let me just fill you in on the state of school sports in Louisiana, a much different scenario than anywhere else we've lived.  Simply put, Louisiana is not really known far and wide for its educational prowess.  I think, last I checked, public schools here were ranked 48th of all the states in test scores.  So, logically, the private school market is huge here and depending on the size, private schools and public schools may compete against each other in sports.  We are home schoolers, so all these rules don' t seem to affect us much.  Last year, a new home school high school boy's basketball team was formed here locally, and our team of 10 boys, including mine, was added to a league encompassing smaller schools, most of them church affiliated. 

The world of sports in general is just bigger here than up north, and infinitely more competitive.  Football is king, then basketball.  However, if your child attends one of these smaller schools, there is not generally a football program, so basketball moves up to kingship with games all through the fall and spring.  Can you say LONG season?  (It is now January and we've been doing basketball since September.)

These have become my people.  I love their boys.  They play their hearts out every game. Watching them play is beyond fun and they continually surprise competitors (especially last year being their inaugural year) with their skill. (Home schoolers are supposed to be nerdy right?)  What we weren't prepared for in this league, and perhaps even this region of the country, was the sometimes hostile nature of these games, in a supposedly 'Christian' league.  Yeah.

I have witnessed and heard some 'foul' sights and sounds, both on and off the court.  Some fans (parents) are gracious, some are not, and some are openly hostile.  I have learned more about the game of basketball these last two years than ever before, and how completely at the mercy of refs this sport actually is.  I have seen terrible calls because of a reaction of a player (which MUST mean he did something illegal - even though the ref didn't see the incident called.)  I have seen calls made solely on one team and not the other.  I have seen dishonest foul counts (knowingly by the refs) given to the scorekeepers.  The list goes on and on.

But, as I decry how blatantly wrong and lopsided some of the calls have been these two seasons, let me be the first to confess my own transgressions. Several games have found my mouth spewing about such things as how the ref needed new glasses. (Ok, he really did.)  I know I am not alone in getting caught up in the 'group think' of such a spirited environment.  We compete in east Texas at a church school there and at this last game some of our contingent was lucky to get out of their gym without bodily injury.  No joke.  Some man (I'm assuming a dad) was still mad about when we'd played them back several weeks ago.  What???  I'm telling you, this is a crazy world.

I love that sports is a microcosm to life in general. We, especially as parents, can choose to dwell on all the unfairness.   I can complain and yell and 'mouth off' about this call or that circumstance, but really, my character is shown by my own REaction to them. Ugh. I love that my people truly do love Jesus and are intent in using unjustified calls to teach these boys.  I love that they love me when my mouth runs off ahead of my brain.  I love this coach who is really coaching these boys about life, not so much a game. And, I love Jesus, who cares enough not not leave me this way.

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