Sadly, last night was Jock's last football game of the season. *sigh* It was a very emotional night for us all.
Jock led the team (in his position of fullback) in touchdowns. He was the only fullback (actually, I think he might have been the only one out of all the boys who at some point carried the ball) that DID NOT FUMBLE it. He led the fullbacks in rushing yards. When put on defense, he forced fumbles and NEVER let the ball carrier past him. He was the first one to knock helmets in congrats to the guys who did well on the field. He was always one of the last off the field at the end of the games as he was always helping to carry the equipment off. He struggled in classes that he would much rather have simply given up in, just so he wouldn't lose his eligibility. He did extra field work (bear-crawls, ladders, etc.) for the coach as penance (and in lieu of turning in his helmet until such time as his grades were where his coach wanted them) for not having stellar grades in those classes he struggled in. 1000 yards of extra field work. Daily. BEFORE the regular practice. He was one of the few members of the team that worked constantly to unify this group of boys into a team, from the two competing teams that they were last year.
All of this. And yet, he still didn't get pulled up to suit up for Varsity for the remainder of this season. The guy who led the team in fumbles did, though. So did the kid who kept pushing for the separatist feeling between the two factions from last season. I have no problem with most of the boys who did get that call. I'm not even bitter (well, not much anyway) that Jock didn't get called up. I'm honestly just baffled at how these selections were made. Why on earth would you move up a player who fumbled the ball (sometimes more than once!) in six of your seven games??? Why would you reward someone who kept pushing against team unity and good sportsmanship?
So yeah. When we left the field last night, just Jock and I walking towards the car, I could hear the tears in his voice even if they weren't falling from his eyes. He was angry and hurt. And confused. It was like the first game all over again. Only this time, what was I supposed to say?
I walked quietly next to him, letting him vent. Ya know, I'd have even let him use a swear word or two, if it would have helped him. (But honestly, my boy -- while I know he uses them, cuz I'm not stupid, I know how 14 year old boys in public school talk -- has enough respect for me to watch his language when he's talking to me.) And after we got home, I even let him sit on the kitchen counter while I made dinner and helped Bug with his homework so we could continue to talk about it. He just kept talking, until eventually he was feeling a bit better. He started smiling again. Started telling me about the awards that the team is actually voting on, and how he's leading the pack in a certain category. He talked about how several teammates came up to him after the Varsity selections were announced and told him that he should have made it. Then he looked at me, got kinda quiet, and said, "Ya know, Mom... I think I'd rather win one of these team awards anyway. That would prove that I'd won the respect of my teammates. Which would be kinda cool since there's been so much trash talk this year."
Now I ask you.... wouldn't that kind of maturity make you proud, too?