I used to be really upset about Cal quitting basketball. This was not because he quit. I don't blame him for that. I was upset because a coach took his love away for the game by humiliating him continually. Sometimes he did this with words, other times gestures and in what ended up the most hurtful way - ignoring him. Cal was supported by all who knew him when he quit. His friends and family rallied around him. They knew how much he loved playing basketball and didn't want to watch him be treated poorly anymore. It was unfortunate that those who could have made a difference in Cal's life, however, chose to ignore the situation and ultimately allow it to happen. That was what upset me. How could any adult watch a child be treated in this matter and just not care?
I have long gotten past being upset with those who could have made a positive difference in Cal's life, but didn't. It doesn't hurt anymore when I read how the team is doing or hear his friends talk about the game. Paula and Jody told me that I should go to a game sometime and see for myself how much fun he is having. I don't know if I will ever do that, but I do know Cal has adjusted to life without high school basketball. He still plays at least three days a week and looks forward to intramurals at IU next year or just pick up games at the rec center.
I knew I would one day get past the hurt of this situation, but never thought I'd find a silver lining in it all. Yes, he learned a tough lesson in life and this will make him stronger in the end. That isn't what put a smile on my face last week, however. It was when Cal came to school and asked me if I had talked to Doug about their Friday morning game with the teachers. I hadn't asked Doug yet, but I could tell from Cal's voice that he felt good about the day. They almost always have a story to tell each Friday ~ a three point hook shot to win that just missed, etc. ~ but this day was special for both. For the first time Doug said that they played on the same team and won all five of their games. Cal took a lead role and played very well. Doug went on to say that he knows his days of playing Friday morning basketball with Cal are winding down. Next year he will be off on his own and playing with the adults on Fridays will be very limited. That's when I realized that I don't have to sit in the crowd for basketball to mean something special to Cal. The memories he and Doug have made are priceless.