« Previous  
 Next »

Nadworny: Losing Isn't Everything, Either

11/29/11 5:55PM By Rich Nadworny
 MP3   Download MP3 

(Host) Winning might not be everything, but it sure beats losing. Commentator Rich Nadworny remembers the times he and his friends put their parents to the test.

(Nadworny) Kids soccer is finally over. Maybe it's because the kids are getting older and the leagues more competitive, but this year was a tough one for my family. Usually the teams are pretty even and the kids win as much as they lose. But this season was mostly losses.

As a parent, I love sitting on the sidelines and voicing my encouragement. But when you see the shoulders slumping and the steps slowing in the second half, I find myself looking at my watch, instead, hoping the game will end soon.

It makes me realize the suffering put our own parents through. When I was growing up in Burlington, we had something called the Church League, a basketball league for boys 14 and under at the YMCA. We were nine when my friends and I at Ohavi Zedek synagogue decided to put together a team and enter the league. Playing against kids 5 years older and a foot taller, we lost our first game 75-2. Only David Solomon's desperate heave from the corner saved us from a shutout. We were promptly dropped from the league.

We were back the next year though. And over the next few years, we set a record for futility, losing one game after another. Our poor dads, and a few moms, showed up every week to watch their sons get creamed by teams twice our size. They cheered, yelled, and argued with the refs. When they couldn't take it anymore, they made up songs about our team that they set to Jewish melodies. Their favorite was this, set to hatikvah:

"Take it down the court boys, don't forget the ball. Put it in the hoops boys, forget they are so tall."

For three years, our dads kept singing, and we kept losing until, until the impossible happened. Down by one with time running out against St. Johns Vianney, I picked up a loose ball and chucked it up the court to a teammate. Coming out of nowhere, he hit Louie Hershberg with a perfect pass and, just as the buzzer rang, Louie laid the ball in the basket. After what seemed like 40 years of wandering around that barren court, we had finally arrived in our promised land.

I don't think you've ever seen a happier bunch of kids as we ran and whooped it up around the whole court. Unless it was our moms and dads who leaped up, hugging each other, with a few tears rolling down some cheeks.

In our last year, we were actually pretty good. Three of us made our junior high school all-star team and one of our younger mates went on to star in high school and college.

So this year, after a particularly tough match on the pitch, I'd tell my kids the story of our hapless basketball team. They'd listen, relax, smile and finally say "Well Dad, at least we aren't THAT bad."
comments powered by Disqus
Supported By
Become an Underwriter | Find an Underwiter