Supporting the Team Long Distance

I am hung over from the midnight match, manning 2 computers to watch my son’s 3  o’clock college game live on-line at 10 pm Euro time.

Squinting at a stop/start video picture, the size of a deck of cards, on one screen while scrolling down another tracking “delayed” live stats, is almost more frustrating than no game connection at all.
After leading, Nic’s team lost in the last second.  I shout, swear and slap the desk. Why stay up all night to follow a losing team during a losing season especially when my son plays only minutes?  Because I feel honored that he suited up even just to sit the bench.  He offered me a chance to be a part of sport USA, which I sacrificed when  I moved abroad.
Ironically, I left States in pursuit of a better life, at least for a female basketballer out of a job.  When my pro team folded, I flew to Paris where I was so lost I might as well have been blindfolded.  After two years in Germany, a car accident ended my career.  Now, a never day goes by without throbbing between my shoulder blades, in my low back, and at the base of my skull due to a broken spine.  Though it’s been 3 decades since I last drove the baseline, no physical pain compares to my heartache every time I see a hoop.
Fate played a nasty trick. I gave up my family and homeland in pursuit of the right to play basketball, but that privilege disintegrated when my body failed me.  I forfeited my own right, as well as, those of my children.
Whereas Americans relive their athletic exploits through their offspring, I bore my children abroad where sports never mattered the same way. Even though Nic and Nat, son and daughter of a semi pro volley ball and a pro b-ball player, inherited our athletic prowess, raised in France and Switzerland, they never had the same opportunities as American kids who learned how to give-and-go in kindergarten.
To send them back to the States to play college is a long shot; yet they rise to the challenge.
Guilty of imposing my goals, I rationalize that being part of a team in the competitive American atmosphere will make them better prepared for the reality of the work world.  But will it?  Or am I merely trying to resurrect my old dream and play again by standing on their strong, young legs?
Had I been able to play a few more seasons in Europe, and enjoy club ball into middle age, would I feel less frustrated?  My interrupted final season, like unfinished business, haunts me with a loss so profound nothing fills it, not coaching, teaching, writing, nor even marriage and motherhood.  Now with my body racked by pain, I lay in bed, staring at the pine ceiling of my Swiss home, praying, « Help me find another purpose. »  From as far back as I can remember, I lived to run, jump and play; the rest was just background music for my own “break” dance.  Each day, like a mantra, I repeat « Focus on what you can do, not on what you cannot!»
Just Do It!
So I stumble, fight to stand and cheer long distance, «Go team!»  Real players never lose; they learn.  And then step back on the court.
Posted in sport.

One Comment

  1. Thank you for such a brutally honest look at your life. Rest assured that no matter where you are in this mid-life you will ask these questions. Should I have given up my career to care for the kids or why did I give up my career to care for the kids? How can I have worked so hard and still not become the (fill in the blank) I meant to be. And ironically, what seems to breed the most discontent–here I am, having acheived all I meant to and I'm still not content (which is why really successful famous people are all messed up).

    The trick I suppose is to stop approaching life with such a Western goal/acheivement perspective and approach it with an Eastern "all that I have is all that I need; all that I am is all that I should be"

    namaste

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