What’s Right with America

It is a foggy, rainy morning as we sail along the coast of southern France on board the Silver Whisper. Back home in Seattle, it’s sometime in the middle of the night.

I had all of two days off between finishing Proof of Life and leaving on the cruise.  I am a writer, yes, but I am also a grandma, and both Saturday and Sunday were devoted to a: packing and b: grandkids.

On Sunday our daughter came over from Silverdale with Audrey and Celeste.  On Saturday, I attended our grandson’s bowling tournament.  Colt’s father, our son-in-law, died after a nine year battle with malignant melanoma, so I consider it brilliant on my daughter’s part to have found a sport, one that Colt loves and excels at, which does not require the use of sunscreen, namely bowling.

In recent years, with the younger grandchildren, I’ve been introduced to a whole new world in terms of sports.  Audrey and Celeste are now in Junior high and both are very talented gymnasts. I’ve found myself at any number of gymnastic meets, holding my breath while they perform seemingly impossible moves on the floor and on the bars.  Those two girls may look as dainty as can be, but they are both proverbial iron fists in velvet gloves.  A couple of years ago, at a county fair, some Marines challenged them to do pull-ups and were duly impressed by the results!

At gymnastic meets, I’ve been amazed at the way the various teams of girls move in orderly fashions from one event to another, and then patiently wait their turns to either perform and/or practice.  Parental units are mostly kept at a distance.  The girls are with their coaches and their teammates, and that’s it.  As for the scores? When those come back, they are the result of each girl’s individual effort.  It turns out both girls are doing well enough to be included in state and national meets.  What grandma on the planet wouldn’t be proud of that?

In terms of individual effort, bowling is similar to gymnastics.  At age 11, Colt’s high score is a very respectable 255, but here’s what I learned at last week’s bowling tournament.

There is a wall between the bowlers and everybody else.  Only bowlers are allowed down on the approach.  Parental units have to stay BEHIND the wall. Unlike the reality of kids’ soccer or Little League or Pop Warner football games, there are no parents running up and down the sidelines yelling at their kids and offering unsolicited advice.  The bowlers themselves can leave the approach and come ASK for advice from parents or coaches.  That’s fine, but down on the lanes, it’s just the bowlers.

And believe me, those bowlers are a mixed bag—boys and girls of all different ages and ethnicities playing on the same lanes—five or six kids per lane, all playing together; congratulating each other on good shots; encouraging each other over bad ones—with no adult supervision anywhere in sight.  I didn’t see any signs of bad sportsmanship.  I didn’t see any sign of one kid heckling another.  As for the parental and grand-parental units?  There were several situations where new wives and ex-wives as well as new husbands and ex-husbands were there cheering on their shared offspring.  And there were several instances where the parental units in question were of the grandparent variety.  But they were all prepared to spend the day indoors, often with younger offspring in tow, to support their kids.

No, Colt did not sweep to victory that day.  He didn’t do that well on the individual score—placing 36th out of 85.  But in the doubles tournament, he and his partner came in 4th.  Even so, I came away with a distinct sense of euphoria—a feeling that I had just witnessed something remarkable in this day and age—a gathering of people where there were no divisions based on race or sex or political rancor.

So the next time you find yourself stewing about what’s wrong with America, go to a kids’ bowling tournament and give yourself a chance to see what’s RIGHT with America.

It’s there.


9 thoughts on “What’s Right with America

  1. Thank you SO much for this post. In the turmoil of the past week it is easy to lose sight of what’s right and hopeful! Thank you!

  2. Love the post. I have been quite proud of the parents, coaches, and spectators as it relates to their behaviors etc. My granddaughters had exceptional coaches who were all about the kids. My great grandson does too. I realize as he ages, the attitude may change, but I hope not into what I used to see years ago. When sports become a child/parents life instead of just a part of that child’s life, it isn’t good. I see lots that is good about America. This time of year I go to open houses for the elementary schools, I see tons of parents and grandparents support their kids. Dedicated teachers. This GG goes as often as she can. My great grandson plays baseball and ice hockey! Such tender dads. He is almost 8 and his little sister blows him kisses and runs to see him at breaks. Other boys tolerate their sisters too. So tender. Hope that never changes. The girls have always been active. I am hoping the crazy pendulum is swinging the other way. May you have a calm voyage. Envy here.

  3. JA Jance: This blog was a needed and wanted reminder that good old America will still go on despite insane headlines and crazy politics. Thank you!
    “Man Overboard” is wonderful! Life is Good! Thank you again! I count my blessings, which are many.

  4. Well said. In about thirty minutes I’m off to my twelve-year-olds volleyball game, where I too am privy to the right side of life.

    Thanks for sharing and have a wonderful trip.

    Cecily Vermote aka CJ

  5. Dear Judy,
    My name is Glen Lacinski. I am a Chiropractic Physcian in Tucson , AZ. Jon Wardius, Barbarow , and finally Jance and I grew up together. He was a groomsman in my wedding.
    I and my wife have met you at your home near 5th and country club area.. You called it Casa (and the name of the street ). Anyway, if you ever come to Tucson with Colt or if Jeanne comes, I would LOVE to meet Colt and tell him wonderful stories about my friend ( his Dad). I can even FaceTime him if he prefers ( with supervision of course ). My number is 520 991-6316. Let me know! Thx and God Bless!

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