Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The Final Score


Last week was the introduction of the fictional character, Count Zero, by Simcha Wasserman, with “The Mark Of Zero”; this week, the series continues with “The Final Score.” It is a story about boys who play sports, and about much more, including on the nature of competition and cooperation.

by Simcha Wasserman

Already as a young boy, Count Zero was unusually self-effacing. He would rather pass off to another player than score himself. In one game of ball hockey, he had control of the ball and could easily have scored, but he instead hung on to the ball until a teammate (who was in a slump) was in position to score, passed it off, took a hard bodycheck that left him dazed, while his teammate scored.

After the game, the Coach took the Count to task in front of the rest of the team. "Young man, the idea is that you score when you can, and not try some foolish, self centered stick handling! Who are you trying to impress?"

The Count did not answer.

"Have you nothing to say for yourself!?", demanded the Coach, his voice growing louder.

The Count remained silent, looking down at his feet.

The Coach turned red and screamed, “You're nothing but a fool! If you continue like this in life, you'll never amount to anything, mister!!!”

At that, the Count looked up, and with the trace of a smile, said, “Thank you.”

“Thank you!?!” roared the Coach, “Thank you!?! Are you completely crazy?”; and he stormed off, snorting like a wild bull. But turning to look back at the Count, he saw something extraordinary.

The entire team were walking by the Count, smiling and gently clapping him on the shoulders, without saying a word.

The group of boys, at that moment, became a formidable team, which went on to lose only two games all season on their way to the league championship.

In his speech at the championship banquet, the Coach thanked all the players on the team, and was about to single out the Count for special recognition until he saw that now familiar smile; and so moved on in his speech, to praise his wife for all her support and dedication.

There was boisterous applause for the champions, as each player received a trophy and a hearty handshake from the Coach. But it was interesting to note that one player in particular, in addition to a trophy and a handshake, also received, what appeared to be, a very subtle clap on the shoulders.

Next week, “Bikur Cholim”

Simcha Wasserman is a Lubavitcher chossid living with his family in Toronto.

Copyright ©2015. Simcha Wasserman. All Rights Reserved. The story is published here with the author’s permission.

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