Last week the other half and I went to watch two of our grandsons play football. This is the first year in the sport for both boys, with soccer grabbing their full attention previous years. Surprisingly the sidelines were packed with people supporting both teams. Interesting to see how competitive the sport was on this level. The boys are 9 and 12. The competitive spirit certainly was not limited to the uniformed players on the field. The parents were carrying on as if they’d bet the mortgage payment on the game and their team was losing.
My son played soccer as a kid. Actually, he plays on an adult league now. I have seen parents nearly go to blows over a missed play or a kid who isn’t being played enough in the parent’s eyes. It’s amazing to me how a game whose very goal (if you will) is to teach children good sportsmanship can be completely undermined by parents who apparently never learned this lesson themselves.
There was a woman standing behind me who paced back and forth yelling and screaming insults to the point where I moved on down the line just to get her voice out of my ear. Next time I’m going to wear a tee-shirt reading “It’s a game people”. A game. I understand for died in the wool below skin deep football fans this statement could be viewed as heresy. I love football, but in the end it is a game. It has rules, mistakes, shining moments, victories, and defeats. Basically the backbone of all types of efforts deemed games.
Kids cresting puberty have enough to worry about with acne, unexpected hair growing in unexpected places, the opposite sex suddenly becoming more than just an annoyance, school, social media, and peer pressure. Why add another layer to the cake?
I have to admit I have a bit of trouble with the everybody wins no matter what program. Some younger groups don’t get points I believe, and everybody gets a trophy no matter what their performance. I can understand the logic I think, but I’m not sure this actually teaches the kids what life has in store for them. I suppose you could say they’ve got the rest of their lives to be adults and face adult issues, but isn’t our job to prepare them for just that? Let’s face it you don’t always win. Life isn’t always fair. Along with the wins, life is also peppered with a lot of losses. If you look around you will not find everybody living in your neighborhood or at your job deserving of a trophy. You do not get promoted for doing a poor job or simply showing up for work. It is the effort expended and the quality of the work performed that moves you up the ladder. Usually, naturally. As I said, life isn’t always fair. If you work for Walmart and your last name is Walton, well, things may play out a little differently for you.
Parents in my estimation need to lighten up a bit. The coaches could use a Valium as well. The need to win often seems to surpass the goal of building young spirits and guiding young minds and bodies in the right direction. Screaming “what kind of idiot play was that”, or “what the blank do you think you’re doing you stupid ass”, really isn’t in my mind a coach ready to nominated for coach of the year. I’m just saying.
I went to all my sons games. He played not only soccer, but baseball, and one abysmal year of football. As a freshman he was small for his age. His growth spurt didn’t come until the summer between his junior and senior year. He grew from a small boy with straight blond hair into a tall, thick-necked man with curly black hair. The Incredible Hulk could have taken some pointers from him. I kept checking the small birthmark on the back of his leg to make sure someone hadn’t thrown in a ringer. His bones ached from the intense surge and he actually got stretch marks along his sides. It was something to see. Suddenly girls swarmed out of the woodwork like I’d laid a chunk of ripe cheese on the ground in front of a mouse hole.
However, as a freshman he was 5′ 2″ and not the least intimidating. Big in spirit, if small in stature, he insisted on playing football. Not one to douse my kids dreams, I reluctantly gave my okay and showed up at the first game to offer my support. I dragged his sister, older by one year, along to bulk up the rooting section. Finding a seat in the bleachers half way up our side of the field we waited for the teams to enter the stadium. Shortly the team ran onto the field and through the paper banner held by the cheerleaders. Towards the very back trailed one small player looking like he was in grade school. I mentioned this to my daughter who directing her attention to the players for the first time since we’d arrived, replied, “That’s number 89. That’s Steve.” “What?”
Fortunately the coach didn’t see the wisdom in putting my son on the field with the other larger players except for in the fifth quarter. Humiliating for the players not in the action, but calming for the mothers of those players watching from the stands. For Steve, he excelled at soccer but football was not to be his game. I’m proud he tried, and glad he didn’t get hurt for his efforts.
Organized sports should serve as a springboard (sorry) to teach our children to work as a team, not only to promote their own agenda. To support the whole, do the best they can, and be rewarded for doing exactly that. After all, isn’t the point of teamwork to forge a bond as a unit without regard to color, religion, or personal preferences and work toward a common goal or achievement? Hmmm. Perhaps that’s something many of us need to review again? Maybe it’s equally as important to lose well, as it is to win well? As always, only my humble opinion on a hopefully rainy day in tall trees.
This is my version of an English pastie. My grandmother often made them from ground lamb or left over roast from Sunday dinner. She had a way with a pie crust that I’ve never been able to emulate successfully. However, I do make an acceptably light attempt. For this pie I used a store bought refrigerated crust, which was delicious.
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 carrot, diced small
1/2 cup diced mushrooms
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/4 lbs. ground sirloin
2 potatoes, peeled and diced
3/4 cup cooked peas
1 tsp. parsley
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. thyme
1/2 tsp. basil
2 cups beef broth
1 pkg. mushroom gravy mix
1 cup water
2 pie crusts
1 Tbsp. water
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Cover cookie sheet with tin foil.
Heat olive oil over med.heat. Add onion, green pepper, carrot, and mushrooms to pan. Saute for 8 mins. until vegetables are tender. Add garlic and cook 1 min.
Meanwhile place diced potatoes in microwaveable dish. Cook on high for 4 mins. Set aside.
Add meat to skillet. Cook until browned. Drain on paper towel. Wipe skillet and return meat mixture to pan. Add all remaining ingredients up to pie crusts. Bring to boil. Cook for 10 mins. until thickened. Add potatoes.
Allow to cool.
Place bottom crust in pie dish. Add cooled filling and spread evenly. Top with second crust and crimp edges. Cut four slices in center of crust to vent.
Whisk together 1 egg and 1 Tbsp. water. Brush over crust. Place on bottom shelf of oven for 45-50 mins. or until rich golden brown. Allow to rest for 5 mins. before slicing.