The Cardinals and the Dodgers play in the 9th inning. Reds lead 6 to 2.
However, the Reds lost today at the Parks and Recreation showdown-- the Stars hung strong and scored two goals to their one, winning the age division championship.
The red-clad parents were dejected; yet, we, the white Stars' parents, jumped and ran out into the field and created the tunnel with our upward reaching hands. The boys (and one girl) ran through, and we cheered. Cody was trailing far behind, didn't notice that the others were gone; we yelled at him, and the parents remained to cheer him, smiling big, through. I felt so grateful for them that they wished the celebration to cover him too.
For the first time, Cody belonged to a winning championship team. For the first time, I integrated well with the parents, who are mainly modest incomers from a centrally located elementary school. The stress to look good and achieve with perfection were gone from them. We laughed a lot together. They encouraged Cody with shouts whenever he even touched the ball with his foot.
After the tunnel, we took pictures of the team and walked over to the concession stand to be awarded the medals. Big, gold medals with a soccer foot reaching out for a ball. Coach told us later that Cody looked up at him during the walk and asked, "Did we win?"
I think he didn't say all he intended ... "medals?"
Coach awarded him his medal and gripped him by the shoulders and gave a rare-extra encouragement: "Cody's best game was yesterday morning; he really went after the ball." Cody smiled shyly and hurried back, big medal dripping.
Winning isn't everything, but, for a boy who loses a lot, today's winning was off the hook.
I can't wait for the Spring to cheer with my new friends.