Crowds were cheering. Not for us--we were the losing team in this basketball blowout. Actually we were quite often the losing team. I won't bore you with the whys and wherefores. We simply were always the underdogs despite giving it our all.
Have you ever had to face the court or field, the cheers and jeers, knowing you would play your very best ... and it wouldn't be enough?
My high school was small, and students were recruited to play sports just to have enough warm bodies. Talent and skill were not required. A couple of us were fairly good athletes but not good enough to carry everyone. I remember having to adjust my attitude more than once. It's really easy to get angry on the court when your teammates just aren't capable of doing their part.
It became a challenge to me to find some reason to keep trying, keep playing my hardest, keep caring. I can almost time-travel back to the gym when I chose to encourage my failing teammates and appreciate the game, even smile when it would have made more sense to cry.
Years later, at my little brother's graduation, someone came up to me and said, "I remember you! You used to play against my daughter in basketball. You were the only one always smiling!"
What?! Someone noticed? They didn't...