Wednesday, December 21, 2011

One Gift of the Occupy -- Empathy among Rivals (or teenagers in RI have heart).

The game was not close. By half-time there were 20 points separating the teams, or nearly that. It was played passionately by both sides and all players had their moments.

When it ended, there were the customary hand shakes (opposing players and coaches form a receiving line of sorts) and the kids gather their belongings and catch their breaths. The coaches take some time to give their closing lessons to the players.

My affection is for all of these boys, not solely my son. It is an honor to be trusted by them, their siblings, and cousins and parents. Basketball is the force which unites us, more than many others. There are two practices a week, sometimes more; the games began in September and will continue until February. I have no idea when the play-offs are. My son's team is making a habit of winning, so I have hopes of finding out!

One boy said to me,

" I felt really bad -- I elbowed this other kid in the face... I didn't mean to. I hope he isn't hurt."

The elbower told me that he had apologized during and after the game to the victim.

They don't know each others' names and may not play against each other again.

Then again, in Rhode Island, they might end up classmates or teammates or regular rivals, and of course, brothers-in-law....

I missed that moment in the game, though I saw many stumbles and tumbles and bumps and whistles blown (fouls) and there were foul shots taken by both teams.
There was a tense moment early in the game, but I am saving that for another post.
The two teams are part of a Catholic Athletic League.

I am seeing reflections of the Occupy Wall Street Movement.
The Gifts of the Occupy are vast and yes, vague, and far from fully determined.
Empathy and activism are nothing new, and still I celebrate.

I see people, who thought they had little in common, finding powerful and intricate kinships. I see people who are truly from foreign places, finding moments of concern, over the elbows and the heads getting bumped.

"If this means, I'm soft," said the athlete, "well, then I'm soft."

One collision in one game may mean nothing.

The space we Occupy is awkward and caring.

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