It’s been a tough night around here. Hockey tryouts are over, and Sam skated his best. His dad, who watched, expected him to make one of the two middle of the four teams (that would be white or blue). He rode home in the car anticipating looking at the roster–would it be up? Who would be on his team? He was so excited.
You can tell this is going to end badly, can’t you?
It does. He made the red team, the worst of four, and none of his friends are on it–all of them having made higher teams. There are a few kids in the red team who’ve played as much or more than he has, and many who haven’t played much at all. The red team isn’t in the league, it has no tournament. It barely plays games, because there aren’t that many towns around here that can field enough teams to have a “red” team, and in hockey that matters.
Sam is crushed. I am crushed. Rob is crushed. It was unfortunate that Rory picked today to use a marker and color all over her bedsheets, two days after a lengthy lecture about all the things we don’t color, and that I discovered it minutes after hearing Sam, at the computer, burst into tears.
It was not a fun night.
Sam got screwed, at least a little–an honest assessment is that he’s about as good as any kid on the team above but that they’re all pretty equal, and somebody was bound to end up on the red team who could have played white (a couple kids, actually) just from sheer numbers, and it was him. He’s not a flashy player and I guess in front of assessors who don’t know him he just doesn’t show up that well. Which sucks, but there it is, there is absolutely not anything to be done about it now.
He cried for about an hour. We let him, let him rant and rave about unfairness and stupidity, took turns sitting and hiding him and agreeing or offering minor solace. Rob had a story about being cut by his high school tennis team and making it the next year, I helped him face head on the embarrassment that comes in the next few days as he has to see all the friends who made the team. Rob had a great quote from the UCLA basketball coach: the best things happen to those who make the best of the things that happen to them.
And, Sam being Sam, after quitting six times and beating himself up, he declared his renewed intent to play the best possible hockey all season and show everyone he belonged on a higher ranking team next year. He really is remarkable. I have trouble doing that kind of thing NOW. Of course, it’s one thing to say it now and another to live it all year…but I’m still impressed that he got there at all.
But this continues to suck. Supposedly hockey assessors are blind, meaning that they don’t know the kids, which means Sam’s greatest strengths as a team player and sport will never do him any good at all in this context. I am so sad. And it’s going to be really hard to watch him brave this out. Damn, damn, damn hockey.