Last night my son's little league baseball team played its heart out and lost. It was a heartbreaker and our guys were in it until the very end. When the game was over, just beyond the din of the winning team's cheers, our little boys couldn't hold back the emotion. Some wept, some stood still trying to absorb the reality, all were lost for a few moments. And then something funny happened. These boys- well on their way to showing all of us what it is to be men - comforted one another. Moms and dads in soothing stance were joined by a few bumped shoulders, some hair ruffling- some acknowledgement that a teammate was there. Still there.
Tears to sniffles to half-smiles. And if that didn't get them, a few boys doused the coach. If you didn't know it already, a soaking wet coach can urge the belly-laugh out of even the most morose little boy.
So on a night when the season's spent wishes could have easily turned brothers away from one another we savored just a few more minutes together. We lingered over ice cream at a nearby shop, laughing, telling stories, and in the favorite words of my good friend Charlie Sheen, winning. Because yes, there are winners and losers in every contest, and our boys lost that baseball game.
But there are bigger things than baseball. (Very, very few, but there are.) And in every respect when it comes to some of those bigger things - honor, brotherhood, fairness, loyalty - our boys are remarkable champions.