In an effort to throw me off my game a Kiwi gave me the word NZ Breakers for my 30 day writing challenge.
Initially I was flummoxed. What was I going to write about? Dealing with devastating Loss? Being second best? Grace in the midst of agonising defeat? The lifelong battle to pronounce vowels correctly?
But then, it came to me. I should reminisce about the time I was set upon by a gang of 40 somethings.
Do you know what I love? I love getting up early on cold winter mornings to watch my son play basketball in the sub zero climate of a basketball stadium. Combine that with teenage man sweat in the air and you’re on a winner.
One such morning was extra special, because it was the grand final! Yes!! My son’s team had reached the final, and the air was a buzz of expectation. I sat down on the slightly too narrow for my girth icy bench seat (WHHHYYYYY do they make them out of metal???). I was super anxious for my son’s team to win, but had also researched and rehearsed the platitudes for a crushed teenage soul in the face of devastating loss. Either way I could see a trip to McDonalds in my future.
I sat ready for the game trying to blend in as instructed by my son (apparently it was not a good idea for me to spray paint the team colours on my hair, how dull.)
Suddenly the coach approached the pumped parent group with a furrowed brow (I’ve always wanted to use the phrase furrowed brow, tick!) he was saying that he needed someone to volunteer to operate the electronic score board. Eye’s darted, awkward pauses commenced, a sudden need to fossick in my handbag overcame me, but as often happens my mouth works faster than my brain and I accidentally volunteered.
How hard can it be?
The game commenced. I sat aside a delightful woman from the opposing team. She had the hard job, she held… the pencil. She dutifully recorded every point, foul, and knee scrape. She was AMAZING. I sat there and pressed a button. 2 points = press 2 times, 1 point = press one time. I SO NAILED IT.
The game was close. Really close, but I kept up with my score board duties with aplomb.
In the last quarter I was informed that because it was the grand final, when the ball was not in play I had to stop the clock, and then of course start the clock when the ball went back in to play. How hard can that be, after all I’m a woman, I can multitask.
It was, shall we say, harder than expected.
Tension was high, 2 minutes remaining, scores are tied. We missed our shot, they blocked the ball, it went out of court, STOP THE CLOCK, the umpire passes it, the player passes it in, START THE CLOCK he trips over, there is teenage man sweat on the floor STOP THE CLOCK, the young fella wipes it up START THE CLOCK the player fouls STOP THE CLOCK she scribbles with her pencil START THE CLOCK, he blows his whistle, STOP THE CLOCK, he blows it again START THE CLOCK…. It was terrifying!! My finger is trembling, my mind racing, the scores are so close, each second counts, I hope I’m doing a good job, my heart is beating out of my chest, 10 seconds remain and the scores are… wait.. the scores… teeth clenching bowel twisting blood rushing Oh Em Gee… I had forgotten to adjust the scores.
So, as you do, with 10 seconds remaining in a hotly contested grand final you adjust the score board you had momentarily ignored from my sons team losing by 2 points to my sons team winning by 2 points.
…I tried for a sheepish look on my face but it didn’t cut it.
The stadium erupted… (so I stopped the clock)…
They descended upon me, it was, actually, a bit scary. They were ANGRY, I was surrounded by a mob of 40 something angry parents. Not players. The young boys were just standing on the court, understandably crushed and perplexed, but the parents… There were finger pointing, accusation spitting, forehead vein popping tirades being fired at me from all directions. The umpire had to position himself between them and me and blow his whistle. He checked the score on the sheet recorded by the pencil lady. Yes, it was correct, we were winning by 2 points.
So… I started the clock, 10, 9, 8… the time ran out… and we won. (yay…)
There’s so many deep and meaningful illustrations I could draw upon from that character building moment in my life, but that would be trite so I’ll just say…. I’m available for hire if the NZ Breakers need a little help getting over the line ;)