Sunday, April 30, 2017
Life lessons on the court
Evan joined the middle school tennis team again this year. So far he has been loving it and having success on the court as well.
Yesterday he had his second competition and he and his doubles partner from last week were joined again to take on the competition. His partner is a great kid. He is a year older than Evan - he is not a super sporty kid but just really enjoys tennis. I see him leaving practice carrying his cello and tennis bag while wearing his Mathletes shirt. Neither he or Evan would be considered jocks - if we are assigning labels they would most likely be the nerdy kids - but you can tell they both really love to be on the court and they are both surprisingly good at it.
So back to yesterday. The school they were playing only sent five doubles teams whereas our school had fifteen. Evan and Matt were lucky enough to get to play against the other school for their first match instead of just scrimmaging with the rest of their team. We found out what court they were assigned to and hauled our chairs and blankets over to watch them play.
It was immediately clear that the team they were playing was far below them in ability. The poor boys had no idea what they were doing. Matt was trying to guide them along. You start serving on the right side. You need to move back. You get another serve if you miss the first. He was being very helpful and not mean about it at all because he is just not that kind of kid. The kids on the other team were not completely horrible. They had a few good shots but it was obvious they needed a lot more practice. It is hard to watch matches like that because I just want to run on the court and give them big hugs. Predictably Evan's team won the match 6-0.
On the way back to the car after his matches I told him that he played really well (in his second match he had a scrimmage and was much more evenly matched - they still won 6-4). I said how the first match was kind of hard to watch because the boys were not that good. To which Evan replied - Yeah, and since they only had five teams those guys probably had to play non stop and got killed in every match - they probably feel horrible. I hadn't even thought of it that way and immediately had a lump in my throat both for sadness for the boys and for the amazing empathy that my boy has for people. I am so often in awe of him. He is so much more mature than his almost thirteen years.
I told him that I was proud that he and Matt tried to help them in the match they played. They were very respectful and helpful. The boys could have easily been given a team that would have been mean and snickered and laughed at how they played. I hope they didn't have that experience with anyone on Evan's team. I would like to think they are all better people than that. I told him that maybe the advice that he and Matt gave them helped them in their next matches. I hope it did. I hope they learned something from Evan and Matt yesterday. I know I did.