I had a very profound moment this weekend.
I spent the past 3 days on a road trip for a soccer tournament for my daughter. It was fun hanging out with the other families, seeing the kids have a great time, but also watch them take their sport they love so seriously and give it their all. This incident came so timely after my post on Friday. It really gave me chills and tears to my eyes after it all happened.
Let me set up the scenario for you. Our team consists of 12 year old girls. We play in a U13 division. This tournament apparently didn’t have anyone in that age bracket so we played UP. We played U14. What that means is our 11 and 12 year olds were up against 14+ year olds. We got to the first game and our jaws dropped. Being that my daughter is not oversized, these girls towered over them to say the least. And to be quite frank, they were playing like beasts. But that never once intimidated my daughter or the rest of our team. In fact, she got her growl on her face and went straight on to the point that she got entangled with the gal defending her, tripped, fell, and rolled over a few times, injuring her knee for the rest of the games. Nevertheless, she pressed on and played. (so funny because after the game she said her face was practically in that girl’s boobs she was that much bigger than her!).
Key point in this story… the refs hardly EVER called any fouls or bad plays on the other team even though they played VERY unfair. It really really upset me. But the girls continued on and moved on to their next game, defeated but not destroyed.
The second game of the day, we went head to head with a second pack of “big girls”. I say that politely. These girls were REALLY playing dirty. This set of referees saw that for sure. They were blowing the whistle on MANY of the “Longhorns”. And, their size once again didn’t intimidate my girl or any of our Cheetahs. Once again, she tried to show them what she was made of. Well, he blew the whistle on her too. At one point, he wasn’t too far from where we were sitting, daughter in close proximity too. He blew his whistle again on someone, and I yelled out, “THANK YOU REF FOR BEING FAIR AND CALLING ALL THESE SHOTS!! I APPRECIATE YOU!” And I said it in a sincere way, yelling of course, but not sarcastic. I MEANT every word of it. Daughter just GLARING at me like OH MY GOD MOM WOULD YOU SHUT YOUR BIG FAT MOUTH!!! And of course I yell out at her (because I can’t keep my mouth shut!) “WHAT??? MARGO I”M SERIOUS!” And he proceeded to shout back at me, “That’s ok! We’re too busy getting yelled at by all the parents!”
After the game as we were leaving, I saw the ref leaning against the fence, the sun beating down on him, as he was drinking some water before rehydrate himself for his next game. He would be reffing the team we FIRST played (where the previous refs called NO calls). Alone, I went up to him and spoke to him.
“Excuse me sir. I just wanted to say once again thank you for making those fair calls on the game. My daughter’s team earlier played THOSE BLUE girls over there this morning.” He said, “OH WOW.” “Yup. And they played like BEASTS and NO calls were being made. I know you even blew a whistle on my daughter, and that’s fine with me because you were being fair. And I just want to tell you thank you. I appreciate you for being fair. I know I’m kinda corney for coming up to you and saying so, but thank you.”
His reply, “Ma’am, you have no idea what it means to hear you say that. We are never told we do a good job. The only thing we do is get yelled at. So thank you for saying this to me. I means a lot.”
I was speechless. Very rarely am I speechless. But this was one of those moments.