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First, before anyone gets their undies in a bundle, I AM A CATHOLIC.  I have not met too many Italians that are not, and yes, I do have holy medals in my car and in the house. (Just in case you doubted my authenticity.) I pray to St. Anthony when I lose something and I believe that praying for your team to win is not technically a sin. After 12 years of Catholic education, I believe this gives me a little authoritative authoring privileges.

My son plays on two basketball teams: a 6th grade travel team and a CYO parish team.  For the sake of brevity I will not go into the nitty gritty details but I will tell you that he has been fortunate in both cases to have great coaches who work with the boys and want to develop them into good players and  more importantly good human beings. Sadly, I cannot say the same for other teams….especially those “crazy catholics”.

Yesterday my son had a game against a team that I believe has not won a single game. They were pretty good but our team has a lot of strength and experience and beat them.  At no time, however, did we beat the beejeezus out of them or change the way we play.  Our parents cheered for them when they made a good shot.  Life is good right? Not so fast.

We have a few young men on our team that have stayed with it, tried and true and worked so hard.  They have come so far in the game. It is so great to see them score, or better yet (my favorite thing) FOUL someone cleanly, of course.  Way to go!  I do not, however, like to hear people, mind you CATHOLICS, make disparaging remarks.  Look, I am a pretty liberal Catholic.  I am open to all types of people except nasty basketball moms/dads and coaches.  Let’s face it, our upstate NY polite little Catholic boys are not likely to play for Syracuse University or the NBA. I know all about Jimmer and yes, he is an exception. So can’t we just play the game and enjoy the time with our friends, family and community? 

There is one team who has a coach that actually scouted the area travel teams for the best players. He stacked his team to win!?  Are they even Catholic? He scouts other teams to see how they play…really? I am not sure Jim Boeheim does that! P.S. we beat them last yeat for the championship!  As my mother says, ‘put that in your pipe and smoke it.’

I write this today because this afternoon we play a team with not only bad parents but a wild coach who belittles the kids, the refs, our coach and the parents.  Last year we played them and I was sitting behind the two benches.  He was out of control.  I said to him in a low and  calm voice, “take it easy coach” and he came into my “space” and said, “I don’t have to listen to you”.

Now you take my 5’4″ Italian 11 year old son and he looked at that coach like “did you just sass my Mama?”.  I gave Jack the eye that it was OK and after the game explained a little more to him about sportsmanship at all levels.  The fact that we beat that team and they refused to do the line up with the obligatory “good game” as you slapped hands, tells a tale doesn’t it?

I am not going to tell you that I am a perfect spectator. I am not.  My son NEVER actually fouls anyone and the refs are always bad (tee-hee).  But I do clap for the other team when they make a good shot and I do take my son to McDonald’s when he loses and feels like he did not play well.

So I am off to hang out in yet another Catholic school gym with the crucifix hanging in plain sight.  Let’s see how we fair today and which life’s lessons will be the dinner discussion. And you wonder why we actually have a volunteer for home games to do “Security”?

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