Our son threw the bat across the field. My husband rushed down the bleachers to grab him. By this time, our little boy was having a full temper tantrum. He folded his arms, refused to walk toward the opposing team, called them every ugly name he knew, while pulling his teammates in the opposite direction. Just as he was about to throw the first punch, my husband grabbed our five-year-old and spun him around.
By the time I joined the duo, tears were streaming down his face, he kept saying “It isn’t fair; I quit.” My husband asked, “why are you quitting?” He shrugged and said, “they won.”
My husband sat down on the curb, put our son in his lap and explained, “they won today, because they played better, and wanted it more.” Our son asked, “Dad, can we beat them?”
“Yes you can,” my husband said.
Our son ran to the middle of the field, joining his team as they slapped hands with the opposing team. When he came back to us, he smiled, “Next time, we’ll win.”
Tuesday’s election reminded me of our child’s heartbreak, over twenty years ago. We urged him then to be a good sport, and keep on playing. In that spirit, the day after the election, I called my friend, Jim, a white Republican male and offered congratulations. Jim voted twice against President Obama, I voted for him. Still, we haven’t’ let what divides us become stronger than what unites us.
During our sixteen-year relationship, we’ve debated politics, without personal insults. We’ve learned that, neither of us is extremely conservative or liberal, we’re middle-of-the-road. We disagree on which party will best achieve our shared values. But our engagement, reminds the other, although Jim leans to the starboard (right), and I lean to the port side (left), ultimately, we’re in the same boat, and together will sink or float.
That’s how the losing side achieves what our son and his teammates did that next season, win the championship game.