Monday, December 22, 2014

Santa Won't Be Able to Top This One

Saturday was the seventh grade year end basketball tournament.  Once a year we generally indulge Ben and let him where his referee jersey to a basketball tournament. Every game he pretends to be a referee and runs up and down in the bleachers using signs and "helping" them with calls. He hangs out close to where they generally take balls out on the sideline just hoping one of the refs will talk to him or maybe let him hold the ball. 

On Saturday we arrived a little late to the game, and had missed the first quarter. At halftime, I noticed that Ben had gone down to the referees all by himself to introduce himself and shake their hands. They thought it was so cute that he had on his referee uniform and were talking to him about it.  Soon I  heard one of them say, "hey Pal, you are missing something".  I thought "Dear Lord No!  Don't be reaching in your bag for a whistle"!  Sure enough he pulled out a brand new official referee whistle along with a lanyard and gave it to Ben. He was on cloud nine. You couldn't wipe the smile off his face.

Soon the game was about to restart and I was worried about how we were going to keep Ben from blowing the whistle during the rest of the game, or the other three games after that one.  I thought I would give him a chance and just told him not to blow it, to see what he would do. I was amazed at his impulse control. At first he did not blow it at all. Later, he would wait until the refs blew their whistle for an actual call and then he would very quietly, blow a tiny little whistle.  It was pretty cute. 

Even as cool as that whistle was, it was not as important to Ben as the boys on the team.  When one of the players got hurt, he quickly handed me the whistle and his skittles and rushed down to check on the player.  He sat with his arm around the boy, until he made sure everything was going to be okay.

Soon the game was over and Ben had gave me his whistle again so he should go shake hands with the rest of the players. He followed the team out of the gym and was holding hands with Noah. I told Noah that I needed to go to the restroom and that he needed to keep an eye on Ben. When I came out of the restroom there was a full-scale search going on as Noah did not pay attention to Ben. We finally found him sitting up on the stage of the other gym next to his favorite referee Mrs. Kuhlman.

Since we had time between games, Randy decided he needed to run to the bank, so he took Ben with him while I sat and watched the other Elmwood Murdock team play.  Just after halftime I looked down and noticed Ben was sitting next to the referee who had given him the whistle. I looked around for Randy and couldn't find him anywhere. I sent him a text and said, "Did you lose anyone?"  Sure enough a few minutes later Randy came running in the gym slightly frantic. The one thing we realized from this whole thing, is that if Ben does get lost at a basketball game, he will find the first referee and latch onto them, which is good.

But the excitement was not over for the day. There were so many junior high boys out for basketball this year, they split the b and c  teams into two even teams. Both teams won their brackets and played each other for the final.  The very nice referees realized that we were from the home team and devised a plan to let Ben help with the jump ball, and get to blow his whistle for real at the start of the game. At first Ben was a little confused, because he knows that when games start, he supposed to go sit down.  But the very nice referee held his hand and together they started the game. It was a very fun game and a great way to end the season. After a whole lot of smack talk amongst teammates, Noah's team did come out on top.

I am sure that Ben will be excited by Christmas. However, I don't think it will come anywhere close to the excitement on Saturday, when he got his first real whistle and was able to blow it in a real game.