Last weekend was football tournament weekend - three football games in three days. That's a lot of football. Aidan's team won two and lost one. Not too shabby, although it would have been nice to make a clean sweep of it. I like football. I enjoy watching it, and I get rather excited about cheering on my boys' teams, but I do keep in mind "it's only a game." A fun way to spend a few hours, and then it's over. Then there's life - everything that goes on apart from the moving of the ball down the gridiron.
Now the game of life goes on concurrently with the game of football, and winning at one does not necessarily mean winning at the other. We had the unfortunate experience of witnessing a team win on the field and lose the larger game of life. On Saturday morning Aidan's team took a pounding by a team from Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The Iowa team dominated on the field. They were disciplined and executed their plays with precision. They knew how to play football.
That said, these boys, and more specifically their coaches, lost the bigger game of life Saturday morning. You see, while the teams were warming up and while they were on the field some of the Cedar Rapids players were uttering racial slurs and insults towards our players. THAT is not cool! Worse still, far worse in my opinion, when it was brought to the attention of the Cedar Rapids coaches, they dismissed it as their players just getting revved up for the game.
So, while the CR coaches may have taught their players how to win a game of football, they failed to teach them how to win the game of life.
Fast forward to Saturday night. Different game, different team. Now we were playing a team from Minneapolis. Lo and behold, more racial insults, this time directed toward the referees. Now I have no problem criticizing a bad call by a ref, but whether a call is good or not has nothing to do the color of the ref's skin (or the color of his mother's skin).
Lest you think this racism thing cuts only one way, the offenders at the morning game were white. The offenders at the evening game were black (as were two of the refs whom they were insulting). It was disgusting coming from both parties.
I was just so frustrated by the whole day! I just wanted to enjoy a day of football (as much as I could while freezing my footsies off).
Now we could have a long discourse about racism in sports or white privilege or many other topics related to this whole thing. I'd be happy to have that conversation with anyone, but can't we just spend a day watching 14 year olds play football and teach them how to enjoy the game and each other? Can't the adults present in the lives of these kids teach them more than how to pass, block, and tackle?
Seriously, folks, there's a bigger game going on.