Saturday was Zach's big basketball debut. He is playing on a boys team of 1st and 2nd graders. I think Zach is the only boy who has never played before - never even with neighbor kids! (We don't have any neighbor kids his age.) This is also his coach's first year coaching this age. Coach and Zach are both just finding out what basketball looks like when you're seven.
Coach hadn't thought to teach the kids what a foul is, so it stands to reason that he didn't teach the league's rules regarding fouls. Zach fouled once in his first period, and then twice in his second period. Two fouls in one period and the player fouls out. Zach was bewildered; he had no idea what was going on. He was escorted off the court, another boy given his band, and two coaches and three players huddled around him on the bench as the coach finally realized that he'd left out a few important details.
My guy sat there, intensely listening to the discussion. I could see that his feelings were hurt and he was confused. Why did they kick him off the court and bring another boy in to play when it was Zach's turn? There was very little time to explain, as the game was going on and Coach needed to get back to the kids on the court. Explaining, reassuring Zach that he was doing a great job despite the foul trouble, would have to wait. Despite his emotions, he remained composed and cheered on his team. He went back in for his final period, and had one last foul. Grandpa and I still maintain that it was an awesome block - not a foul - but the official saw it differently.
Right after the game, he said he didn't think he should come back after this season is over, "I might just keep fouling". We pointed out that he didn't do anything wrong; his coach had simply forgotten to explain certain rules. And being aggressive is a wonderful trait that cannot be taught - we just have to figure out how to use it within the confines of the game. Bryan, in sheer wisdom, shared with Zachary that he thinks God picked him to be the one to foul out, because Zach handled it with such dignity and set such an excellent example. We are so proud that he didn't cry or protest, and was eager to understand what he'd done and learn how to correct it.
The virtue he is studying at church this month is determination. Determination is deciding it's worth it to finish what you've started. The timing could not be better for this lesson in Zach's life. I pray that Zach - a young boy who really doesn't like new things and prefers to excel rather than lag behind - will find his groove and will become comfortable playing this sport that is so new and unknown to him.