We have just finished up the girls' first year in a new basketball league. It was a challenge for several reasons. First, it's a mixed league for ages 11-15, so you still have a few boys with that "I'm not passing the ball to a girl" mentality. The second, and most obvious, is that some of the boys in the league are 6ft. tall and up. I looked at the year as a complete success simply because neither of the girls got hurt, especially Lindsey who weighs less than 80 pounds and isn't even 5 ft. tall yet.
This past Saturday was the championship game between the top two teams, and the girls and I went to watch and cheer. Truthfully, one team in the league was the underdog in that they are from a group boys home, and we went to cheer specifically for those guys. It was a really closely matched game, with lots of action.
Just after half time, things went awry. Two of the taller boys, from opposite teams, had a terrible collision at the far end of the court. One boy bounced off the wall, the other slammed on the floor, and didn't get up...or move. One of the referees walked over to the boy, then turned to walk away in a hurry. The coach went over, looked at the kid and then stood up with a startled look on his face and walked away, also in a hurry. Suddenly a middle aged man ran out to the boy and knelt down beside him, but you could see he didn't know what to do. I saw that the boy was starting to shake as panic and pain set in.
I slid out of the bleachers and told my girls not to move, and I began making my way towards the injured boy. A condescending woman sitting in the stands near my kids sneered, "Well I guess the mom is finally going to check on her kid." My oldest turned to face the woman and said "No, that's MY momma going to help the kid." The gym went silent again.
I'll be honest, that was one of the most awkward things in the world. Walking out past a gym full of gawking people, not sure of what I was going to see when I got to the boy. Thankfully for everyone else, he had landed on his right side, with his back towards the gym. The room full of onlookers couldn't see the puddle of blood spreading out on the floor, or the panicked look in the child's face, or the lost look on the man's face (I found out later he was the foster dad).
I sat down in the floor, and simply said "I'm here to pray, and to help." I put my hands on both sides of the poor child's face and began to pray peace, and healing over him. The bridge of his nose was sideways, obviously broken. Blood was pouring out of his nose pretty steadily as the coach returned with a stack of paper towels. Shortly someone else showed up with an ice pack and the director showed up with a first aid kit. I continued to cradle the boys bleeding head and speak calm, soothing words to him to help him calm down, his shaking began to subside.
I sat there for what seemed like an eternity, watching him bleed all over me as the "first responders" slowly put their sterile gloves on. Finally one of them said to me, "Are you sure it's just the nose, and not his eye?" I'm pretty sure I shot him an ugly look. I bent down low, still cradling the boy's face and had him open his clenched eyes and confirm that the eye was fine.
After some time, we were finally able to get him to sit upright, and then moved to the bathroom to wash some of the blood off his face and hands. Then finally he was off to the ER where the doctors confirmed that yes, he did have a broken nose. I.TOLD.YOU.SO.
I offered to help the director with the task of cleaning the area before the game could resume. I kid you not, he looks at me and says "Don't touch anything, I'll clean it, I've got gloves on." I laughed as I help up my blood covered hands and said "Yeah, I wouldn't want to get dirty." I headed off to the ladies room to wash my hands before returning to my own kids and the remaining basketball game. Not a soul, other than my own children asked about the boy.
I found out later, the boy's name was David. I've prayed for him often since that day. I've thought back over the comment the one lady made, and it makes me mad. In a room full of "Mommas" nobody cared enough to go help an injured child, but they were quick to throw judgment. I've wondered if I put myself at risk by not waiting for gloves. But you know what, if God forbid, one of my kids is ever hurt and I'm not around, I pray that there will be a Momma who is willing to step out of her comfort zone and be there.
Folks we need each other. We need to care enough to get out of our comfort zones, slide out of our comfy spot on the bleacher's of life and reach out to those around us who are hurt and in need. We've got to stop turning our head's and saying it's not our problem. Somebody needs you to care enough to act. Love is a verb.