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Just a Thought

Over the weekend, my son took part in a flag football tournament in Danvers. He was picked to be part of an all-star team and was pretty excited for it.

Teams from all over the country take part. My son's team was in the 12U group, meaning he would be playing with boys ages 11 and 12. When I saw

the first team he was playing against, I could not believe my eyes. These boys were enormous compared to our team; in both height and weight. To top it off, we were somehow registered

in the Elite group, meaning

we'd be playing quite out of

our league in every game. Not surprisingly, we lost our first three games. Still, after each loss, both teams faced each other and did the routine, "Good game," handshake or hand slap to show good sportsmanship.

After each team played three games, playoffs begin. And whether or not teams won or lost games, they are then "re-bracketed" with the best of the day playing against the best and I hate to say it, but the worst playing the worst; that was us. Still, our kids took it in stride and were thrilled when they won their first playoff game.

Our next opponent would be a team that traveled all the way from Mexico. It was easy to spot them, draped in bright red and green uniforms. Although none of the kids seemed to speak any English, it was easy to tell they were excited to play. As the game was about to begin, I saw a couple of kids on the Mexican team kneeling and bowing their heads to say a quick prayer before kickoff. It was then that I had a feeling this was going to be a very different game.

Throughout the first half, it was a fairly even game with both teams playing very well. Unfortunately, in the second half, our team began going down hill much to their dismay. It was during this time, that I noticed something going on that I hadn't seen in the previous games. Each time one of our kids landed on the ground,

a player from the opposing team came over to help him up. When one of our kids made a bad play, it was a player from Mexico

who went over to him to offer a "it's okay" pat on the back. What couldn't be communicated verbally, was instead communicated through a kind gesture.

Even at the end of the game, the kids from Mexico didn't line up to give just the congratulatory hand slap, some of them instead hugged our players, even hugged some of our coaches. They didn't just walk off the field for their next playoff game, they wanted selfies with our kids and a big group photo of both teams.

And even though our team was done with their playoff run, they seemed to realize it ended on a good note. It was the Mexican team's actions that spoke louder to our boys than any words understood or not understood that day.


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