I have never "gotten" the whole "root, root, root for the home team" mentality. I have never really cared about any professional, semi professional, college or high school team. In high school, sure, I went to the Friday night football games. Did I watch the game? Uh, no. Did I even remotely understand the game? Uh, no. I went to the occasional basketball game, which I understood a bit more. I've attended a couple of college football games- University of Iowa Hawkeyes. I've gone to a pro hockey game in Canada, one Rockies game, local hockey and baseball games. My kids ask if we like the Bears or the Packers. I say we don't really care either way. They ask if we like the Hawks or the Cyclones. I say we like the Hawks because they are closer and I love Iowa City, but the Cyclones because my parents went to Iowa State. Really, I don't care. I don't rabidly not care, I'm just indifferent and have always been that way about sports.
In my teacher training, we were encouraged to attend band concerts, sporting events, dances and the like to show that we connect with the students. So, I go to stuff. This year, my students were raving about our boys' basketball team. With my district i.d., I can get my whole family in for free- so we started going. And now, I get it. The kids on this team are amazing to watch - we've got one player, who I had in class last year, who is just 5'7" and he can dunk the ball. He's like a Jack Russell terrier, jumping like 4 feet in the air and coming out of nowhere. We've got a kid who was sent up here from his home town down south because he and his brother were victims of a drive by shooting, killing his brother. He's here living with a relative because his mother feared for his life. One kid had to sit out last year because of a medical condition- he's a senior and a star player. One kid got a full ride to the Citadel for next year. He's not only talented, but he's nice, too- they all are, really. Most of them have been playing together on the court and off since they were itty-bitty.
And , because of all of their stories and their drive, I am completely taken in by their team, my school's team, my community's team, my team. I am grinning uncontrollably as I listen to the local news, which I usually abhor, tell of their victory- 69-59 against The Haves- (our school being The Have Nots). We lost to them last year and did not get to go on to the State tournament. This year, since we did win, we get to go to State, the first time in 19 years. On the news, they interviewed the players after the game and of course they were all pumped up- one kid said "This is what I've been waiting for ever since I started high school!" Wow. And another, so excited and overwhelmed, said "We didn't just do this for us, we did it for everyone, all the people who come out and support us and all the people who didn't make it to state all these years."
I'm so excited for them.
And I get it now.