I overheard my husband talking to our eight-year-old son the other night. He was telling him that he’d decided which players on his high school baseball team would be playing in the summer tournament (which starts on Saturday). There are something like 40 or 50 or even more kids on his team, and only 20 can be in the dugout. My husband told my son that the third year players who weren’t chosen cried.
“Oh, come on!” I wanted to say. “Where is their sense of sportsmanship?!” But whenever I say these kinds of things to my husband, he says that I don’t understand because I don’t play sports. And he’s right. I know what it means to lose. As a writer, I get rejected all the time, but it doesn’t happen in the heat of the moment when adrenaline is pumping through my veins.
I wanted to break into the conversation and say to my son, “But you won’t cry if you’re ever in that situation, will you?” But I didn’t because I don’t want my sensitive boy to think that crying is bad (and I wasn’t part of the conversation).
I feel a little bit of contempt every time I see a high school boy (or a Japanese Olympic baseball player) crying after losing a game. Where’s their sense of dignity? I wonder. Where’s the grace?
But I also love my husband a little bit more when he is so moved by a victory that he chokes up when speaking with reporters. I feel proud of the tears in his eyes.