Why are they crying?

Yesterday, my girls' volleyball team lost the championship game in a tournament. It was naturally disappointing. I was expecting the long faces. I was not expecting the majority of the team to burst into sobs. There was a domino effect...one started and then it was just downhill from there. I found it very odd and was honestly rather annoyed. It interfered with their ability to offer respectful congratulations to the other team, participate decently in the after-game prayer, and recognize objectively the successes and blessings of the day.

So, what does one do with five blubbing 11-year old girls in the middle of a gym? I still have no idea. We gave them cookies. That helped a little. Other than that, I can't say that I was incredibly compassionate. I actually had to gently push a child (somewhat against her wishes) to the center of the court for the closing prayer. By giving themselves over completely to their emotion they lost sense of everything else.

My daughter was one of the three girls who did not cry and did not feel inclined to do so. Those three stood silent amidst their puffy-eyed peers somewhat confused by the ruckus and with the slightest hint of smiles as they looked on a scene that appeared to them a tad ridiculous. Apparently, they did indulge in a private giggle over the matter together at the gym. One of them asked the others: "Why are they crying?" The response: "I have no idea." I also made Cookie giggle on the ride home by suggesting the image of her brother's team breaking down in sobs after a loss. Of course, it would never happen. Not enough estrogen.

There is some irony here though. I (who am capable of becoming teary-eyed at the photos of cute babies on diaper packages) am no stranger to that kind of sudden emotion. But I have never cried on a volleyball court. Or a track. Or a field. I have never cried after losing a game. I don't think I've ever even felt the inclination. I've felt disappointed, angry, frustrated at losses...but never like bawling. I didn't even cry when I blew out my ACL in a hurdling accident. I just cry at everything else. I've heard that athletic activity actually raises the testosterone level in women. Perhaps it gives me balance.

I wanted them to dry their eyes and pray with respect. I wanted them to get out of their huddle of misery and applaud appropriately when the other team's award was announced. I wanted them to step outside of their personal distress and appreciate their own achievement. I was definitely disappointed.

One thing I noted is that the only girls who didn't participate in the bawl-fest were my two public school players and my homeschooled daughter. All the rest attend the Catholic school together. Is it a peer thing? Did some feel compelled to force the appearance of misery because they saw their popular peers doing it? I don't get it. I only ask the questions because I certainly don't want it to happen again.

It took weeks before I finally got them to take their banshee-like screaming down to a respectable level and here they go replacing it with sobs. Maybe it's just a little girl thing. Estrogen plus immaturity?

Speaking of which, I think it's about that time of day to have my "exhausted-and-overwhelmed-and-9-months-pregnant-cry" in a dark corner somewhere...and maybe after that I'll have a cookie.

"Do not be guided by feeling, because it is not always under your control; but all merit lies in the will." --Our Lord Jesus to St. Faustina
Posted on October 4, 2010 and filed under "Christian sports".