As junior class sponsor one of my jobs is to raise money for prom.
As this is a big undertaking, our fundraising typically lasts until the last hour, however this year my juniors have done very well with a cotton candy machine.
The students bring this machine to each home game and sell cotton candy for $3 and $4.
My favorite thing about this is that I get to watch my students play whatever sport we are covering. Also the free Frito chili pie but that’s for another column.
Anyway, one particular basketaball game was super exciting with close scores, a little trash talk, and great plays.
So, after winning the JV boys’ game at the last second, the varsity girls’ game began.
My girls did so well and I cheered, helped sell cotton candy, and then cheered some more.
During the beginning of the first half with an elbow to the face, a player was on her stomach underneath the basket.
Her hands were pressed to her mouth and bright red blood mingled with spit on the court.
I immediately flashed back to my seventh year of life when I knocked my own tooth out by smacking into a wall ice-skating.
My dad called me Elly May Clampett for two weeks. For the record, I googled her. She had all of her teeth.
This particular athlete pulled her hands away only to reveal the inevitable, her front tooth was in her palm. “This is literally my worst fear,” she said.
She was telling the truth, over the last two years of teaching her she often told me about dreaming that all of her teeth fell out. It was a real fear!
She stayed on her belly in the court and from the home side rushed a senior momma to the rescue. She was dental hygienist by day and immediately went to work as others gathered around the injured player.
Luckily, we also had a dentist in the stands that offered his assistance.
Apparently, the best thing for the tooth is to put it back in, which is what the dental hygienist did.
But even though everyone was waiting for tears, screaming, crying, and basic hysterics from a senior with a missing front tooth, it never happened.
As the dental hygienist walked her through what she was doing, she even showed the player her tooth. “See? You’ve got pretty teeth!”
What a positive look on a not so positive situation.
As the player was cleared off the court and heading out, she stopped and gave me a hug, told me she loved me, and to drive safely home.
Even though she was going through a difficult situation, that didn’t stop this athlete from being kind, staying positive, and using those manners she has always had.
She stayed on my mind the rest of the game and well into the next morning.
I myself had felt like I’d had a difficult day; a day that I met with grumps and way less grace.
I can only imagine my reaction if, on top of that, I had my front tooth knocked out!
I can only hope I meet my next less-than-ideal situation with the same positive attitude that I personally know comes from her relationship with Jesus.
I can only hope that I have the grace not to get up and knock someone else’s teeth out, which is oftentimes way easier than taking it like a champ.
So, here I am turning another situation into a learning moment.
You may look a bit like Elly May Clampett but how you approach a tough situation, when watched by an entire gymnasium of people, says so much about your character. It can teach others when the going gets tough to just grin and bear it.
Courtney Warren is a contributing writer with The Bolivar Commercial. She may be contacted at email@example.com