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Sportsmanship

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Fin loves soccer.  This winter he is playing on three indoor soccer teams.  Yes, three.

You know what that means? Three indoor soccer games on Saturday evenings.

I know that it sounds like a lot, but I think its a good thing.  Other people may wonder what their teenager is doing on a Saturday. Whether he’s out with friends or sitting on the internet, either place could lead to trouble.  But we know right where our 16 year is.  That’s because, most of the time, we’re right there too, watching him.

This past Saturday we missed  his first game.  When we walked into the sports complex, one of his friends’ brother saw us.

“Fin had a great first game,” he reported.

“Did he get a concussion?” I asked, half-joking, half-serious.  It’s my greatest fear about him and soccer.  He’s already been knocked out once.

“Well, I’m not a doctor,” the brother answered, “but he looked just fine to me.”

Fin’s second game, the first we watched, was a total rout.  The final score was a whole bunch to nothing.  Fin’s team won.

The final game, however, was a tough, rough game.  Back and forth, back and forth, the score went.  The other team would score, then Fin’s team would even it up, then the other team would score again.  I love when teams are evenly matched.

Both teams had different style of play.  Fin’s team called the ref “Sir.”

“Sir! Sir!” One teammate had been calling to get the referee’s attention as he was having his shirt tugged and ribs elbowed by his opposition.  “Sir!” Finally, the referee blew the whistle.

Fin’s team was definitely smaller, size-wise, but they had skill.  The other team also had skill;  there was some great footwork happening out there, but it was rough.

One player in particular on the other team, #17, was very aggressive and very rough.  And loud.  If he didn’t like a call the referee made, we all knew it, in no uncertain terms.  “That’s BULLSH**!” he yelled, even though he was about two feet away from the referee.  He would stand right in front of the referee and yell profanity in his face.  Needless to say, I was shocked.

After the game, I asked Fin about #17.

“Him? Oh, that’s (_insert name here_),” Fin said.  “He’s one of the –” Fin stopped himself and corrected, “No, he is the best player in the area.”

“Says who?” I asked.  Seriously, I would beg to differ.

“Says everyone.”  Fin listed off a bunch of credentials, mostly teams #17 had played on, and I was totally unimpressed.

“I wouldn’t want him on my team,” I said.  Fin looked at me, not terribly surprised.  I continued, “I don’t care if he has the foot skills of Pele, I wouldn’t want him on my team.  He’s rude, obnoxious, and has terrible sportsmanship.”

Fin just kind of shrugged.  I think when you’re 16, foot skills matter more.  Either that, or he was wondering who Pele was.

As for me, I’ll take the kid calling “Sir!” any day.

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This entry was posted on February 19, 2013 by in Family conversation, Overheard and tagged , , , , , , , , , .

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