Not all boys, mind you and not all the time. Mostly boys bug me in organized sports situations. I confess that I hate going to Geeky Boy’s sports games because I hate dealing with all the macho postering. Yes, it’s true. At nine, they’re already taking this whole sports thing too seriously.
Right now, Geeky Boy is playing basketball. I don’t usually attend the games because they play them in their tiny gym where there really isn’t room to sit or stand. You’re basically on the court. Last night was the game to determine whether his team would be 3rd or 4th. Yeah, they’re not that good. We had a mix-up on the times, so when I went to pick him up, he was actually just starting, so I stayed to watch.
First of all, it was clear from the practice that no one on the team is that great. There wasn’t a single boy who you just thought, “Wow, he’s got some talent.” On the other hand, no one was particularly bad either. Probably, if you put them at the free throw line and calculated their statistics, they’d be at the same level. But reality and perception are two different things. The team had basically decided that two boys were the stars. This perception was encouraged by the coach, a reprehensible thing in my book.
Basically, the two stars have developed a cool sports “attitude” which is why I think the team considers them stars in the first place. They play aggressively; they’re willing to take some chances. They’re in it for the coolness factor. Neither of them pays attention to form or to what might be the best play or who’s open. Their goal is to pass it to each other. The other kids might be wide open and they’ll pass the ball way over their heads just to get it to the other star.
One of the stars’ key strategies is simply to dribble the ball down the right side and hopefully take a shot. Inevitably, every time he did this (and he did it on almost every drive) he got trapped in the corner and couldn’t even pass. The other star’s strategy was to run down and stand under the basket and hope that someone would pass it to him. If he was covered, he did not move.
One of my favorite plays of the game was when dribbler star dribbled down to about the free-throw line and then stopped but was too heavily covered to shoot. There were no teammates down the court yet, so he pivoted around and my son was right there, completely open. It would have been a quick and easy pass; he could have moved into position and my son could have passed it back. He didn’t want to pass to Geeky Boy. So he keeps pivoting and looking for shooting star, but he’s not coming. While he’s looking back down the court, he shifts the ball behind him and someone from the other team comes up from behind and snags the ball. I smirked a little at that, thinking, “Ha! That’s what you get for being a ball hog.”
At the end of the game, shooting star cried, because of course they lost. He is not a good sport. I caught the end of their last game and he threw a fit, saying that the other team didn’t play fair.
I wasn’t at all feeling sorry for my son because no one was throwing him the ball. Instead, I was simply irritated with the boys who were being coached already that winning is the most important thing and that there’s always going to be a star and the rest of the team is there to support them. Thankfully, my son doesn’t feel that way and the sports he loves the most–soccer and lacrosse–don’t foster the same attitude.