Year Two

Clear Eyes, Full Heart

I’m not a sports person. When people say something like, “we’re gonna win this game tonight!” while referring to a team like the Gators, or Red Sox, or whatnot, and I tend roll my eyes, and offer a snarky comment at their use of “we.” “Really? I didn’t realize you played for the Lakers!”

I just don’t get it. I don’t like playing sports or watching sports, and I’m more dedicated to finishing season 5 of the West Wing than I’ll ever be to a sports team. I consider myself a Steelers fan, but I didn’t lose any sleep when they lost to the Jaguars.

However, I have soft spot for my students, and they ask me to attend their sporting events, and I do. I even pay attention (ok I try), but really only because I worry about them getting tackled and dying on the field.

I can’t remember the last time I watched my students win a game – baseball, softball, football, volleyball, anything. I think we won some basketball games, but I’m not confident that that happened too often. It sucks, and they’re always disappointed, but I don’t get sports so I’m pretty indifferent about the whole thing.

Except, so, on Friday, something hit my heart. I’ve taught every player on the football team, except the quarterback, but we share deez nuts jokes so he’s got a piece of my heart anyways. We played “the only school in SC that’s sorrier than us.” If we were going to win a game this season, it was going to be this one.

It stayed scoreless through the half. The second half was plagued with interceptions, and halfway through, the other team scored. Then they scored again. From the stands I could see their frustration building. With about 5 minutes left in the game, one of my boys punched another player, and was ejected from the game. The clock eventually ran out, they shook hands, and I sat in the empty stands as I watched the boys huddle for a post-game pep talk.

I watched one of my kids rock back and forth as he sobbed. I watched them walk back to the locker rooms with arms around each other and their heads hung low. I watched my kid lie on the grass, the last on the field, while coaches consoled him as he broke down.

And something in my frozen heart cracked a little. I sobbed the whole way home. It had been a bad day in class, and maybe a bad couple weeks. I’ve hit more road blocks this year than I expected, and I’m super anxious about my kids applying to colleges. I am tired, and hungry, and my heart hurts.

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