Be very careful what you ask for

Published 12:00 am Monday, November 20, 2000

Throughout our son Matthew’s sports career my husband, David, and I have talked to him about being a player who can bounce back from adversity.

When you miss a goal in soccer, you are not solely responsible for the loss. I bet David and I have said &uot;you win as a team and you lose as a team&uot; a thousand times over last several years.

I have lost count of the number of times I have yelled from the stands at baseball games &uot;hold your head up.&uot;

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Matthew has always been one of those players who takes his mistakes to heart and it has been something we as parents and David as his coach has had to deal with over the years.

I can still see Chuck Rasco during youth basketball telling Matthew, &uot;shake it off and keep playing,&uot; over a missed basket.

We just kept telling ourselves, coaches and grandparents that this was something he would have to out-grow, and to ourselves we would add, &uot;soon we hope.&uot;

Last Thursday night in the second rebound of the seventh grade basketball game Matthew went up for the ball. Just as his right hand touched the ball another player hit is hand from the other side.

Sitting in the stands I saw his look of pain and the way he grabbed his hand. But he continued to play and never looked to his coach to be removed from the game. As the quarter continued we could tell he was favoring the hand.

At the next time out I went over to check on it. The finger was swollen, so we applied ice, assured him it was just jammed, pulled on it a little bit and I went back to my seat; he went back into the game. Three quarters and several points later I looked at it again. Still swollen I suggested he keep ice on it. Later, after playing some in the junior-high game, I decided maybe we should make a trip to the emergency room.

You guessed it, with dad in Kansas, Matthew’s finger was pronounced broken and in more than one place. We splinted, taped and medicated. And mom felt approximately three inches tall.

The next morning we headed to the orthopedic doctor where the break was reiterated. After the doctor commented on how lucky we were that it wasn’t displaced and Matthew told him how his mom had straightened at the game I felt one inch tall.

As I watched Matthew and the doctor discuss how long it would be splinted, then taped, how long would he be out of basketball, and how much could he actually do at practice I realized here was the maturity I had been looking for.

And I wasn’t sure I liked it.

Did this mean he would not sit in my lap, would I not be allowed to kiss it and make it better and worst of all, would he not need my mothering?

Driving home I could hardly think of anything else and I had to blink back tears as I drove. Here was something I had specifically asked for, had been given and couldn’t figure out how to get rid of it.

Fortunately, God heard my newest prayer and decided to cut me some slack. Matthew allowed me to tuck him in snugly on the couch with pillows, blankets, Dr. Pepper, Bagel Bites and the remote control. He let me love on him and make his sisters be nice to him.

I guess this is one of those milestones that parents both look forward to and dread. And while I am proud of his new level of maturity I was sure glad to see that my mother hen routine was still needed and wanted.

Christina Hall is the food editor at The Democrat. She can be reached at 442-9101 or by e-mail at