Blog Your Blessings: Basketball in the Big, Bad City

Two weeks ago my daughter had a basketball game in Waterbury. The local white bread was a wreck. Some (very vocal) parents recalled hearing profanity the last time they were at a game in the Brass City. The gym smelled like disinfectant. The neighborhood? Let's not go there. Really. The girls had heard they'd be up against a good team. They were worried about losing the game. Unlike their parents, they were unconcerned about the poverty or racial background of these kids.

The gym was, in fact, beautiful and clean. The parents for the local kids were great. The refs, awesome.

The Waterbury girls? Out of this world good. They were so fast that they forced our girls to think on their feet as a team. No longer had the three strongest players the luxury of playing among themselves, ignoring the other girls on the floor. The cliques dissolved as our snobs rapidly realized they couldn't go it alone. The Waterbury girls threw them off their game a bit, too, and suddenly they noticed there were other stars in the universe.

Our girls rose to the high standard set by the girls in the ghetto. And they lost beautifully. They left the gym satisfied that they came very close because they played very well.

The game was the great leveler that day. It didn't much matter what was parked in the lot outside the gym or who wore glass and who had diamonds. It's lovely, too, that money can't buy skill. Lovelier still that kids who think they're all that in their own little worlds discover the standards are high outside that private place. That poor kids can work to a high standard--graciously.

Last week, the clique reemerged on the court, and we lost the ball or the shot more than once as a result. We lost. This time, though, the girls knew it was a matter of spirit, not skill. Maybe they won't forget.


  1. It's very often the losses that teach the most valuable lessons. Chief among them possibly that there's no shame in losing well.

    One other plus to come out of that first game. The "supporting cast" -- meaning the girls who aren't among the "chosen three" -- realized they had something to contribute too. Besides feeding the scoring machine represented by the triumvirate that is.

  2. That's a great story. They played up to the level of their competition and ended up with a satisfying loss. And they respected their opponents. It really is not whether you win or lose but how you play the game.

    They learned they can accomplish much if they play together.

  3. What an important life lesson they received that night! A blessing indeed!

  4. Too bad they have to lose to learn a lesson.

  5. Children need to lose sometimes to learn many valuable lessons.


  6. losing in life...
    is winning in the next...
    if lessons are learned.

    sounds like they did superbly!

  7. Well written. There are so many lessons to be learned on our way to being grownups. If your daughter has learned from these experiences then she is wll on her way to true maturity.

  8. how true, ability is the great leveler.

  9. Such a valuable and lovely post!

    Aloha, Sandy

    Comfort Spiral

  10. Sandy: May we all learn that teamwork will always overcome.

  11. Losing now and then is important in helping children to see what is important, it can pull them together as a team. Valuable lessons indeed!
    Have a great evening, Sandy!


  12. I remember the frustration of trying to come up with little life lessons for my kids, for Cub Scouts, for Boy Scouts, and for my young sailors.

    Just let 'em play some basketball against the "underdogs", and wonderful things happen!

    Great story!


  13. What a valuable lesson learned. I love how your eyes see.

  14. a lesson to be remembered. I am sure it helped!

  15. I think this is a wonderful story. I hope the other players on your daughter's team will remember the lesson they learned in the big city. They'll be much better people (and players) if they do.

  16. Some valuable lessons the team is learning! I hope they carry them through to adulthood!

  17. They learned they can accomplish much if they play together.

    Work From Home

  18. It is interesting how we learn... And how we need to keep learning certain lessons in life...


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