Today Matthew played his final game for the season. It is bitter, frigid, cold. They play in shorts and short sleeves. We could see our breath. Not ten minutes in Matthew makes an amazing play for the ball which, unfortunately, ends in a graceful slide right into a very deep, very wide, puddle. He was completely in it. Laid out, his entire body half submerged. One of the parents on OUR team yelled "Swim Matthew Swim!" It was THAT bad. There were gasps along the sideline. Even the OTHER team's players offered him a hand up and "dude that's bad" commiseration. Gamely he stood up - shook his head like a dog, and trotted back down the field. His clothes dripping wet, water streaming down his legs.
Not five minutes later a very lovely woman comes trotting toward us from the other team's fan base. She is holding out a thick, black sweatshirt and ever-so-graciously asks us if Matthew would like to wear it. She doesn't know us from a hole in the wall, we are the opposition, but as a mother she saw one wet, dripping child and didn't think "game advantage" but "I have an extra shirt here."
That's class. It's also a reminder that good sportsmanship doesn't begin - or end - on the field.
Being a boy he did, of course, say "no thank you" (arrgh!) and I am ashamed to say I didn't catch her name. However, I want to give a shout out to the lovely mother who offered a sweatshirt in kindness. It may not have had a chance to warm my son but it definitely warmed this mother's heart.