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March Madness
Paul Corrigan

My son skated around a rink in Waterville Valley, New Hampshire tonight with a trophy above his head. His team had just won an end-of-season tournament and he was enjoying the spoils of victory. For a ten-year-old this was heady stuff. His teammates chased him through a maze of gloves and sticks and waited for their turns at the ceremonial gesture. Griff passed the trophy to the goaltender, who tripped and broke the statuette from its pedestal and the stick from the statuette. Actually, he severed the hockey figure at the legs. The kids roared with laughter. A goalie can't make every save.

No matter the trappings that adults put on the games that kids play, the kids put the outcomes in perspective. Five minutes after a game, win or lose, the kids are off on the next adventure. They live in the present, not the past or the future. A championship hockey game has no more importance than the handheld video game they played in the car on the way to the rink. They just want to play.

The night before the big game resembled a cross between Blazing Saddles and The Waltons. Our condo rocked with laughter as the four kids staying together said good night to each other from their respective beds by talking with their sphincters. It made the kids laugh—and they love to laugh. For the adults who find this revolting, I would remind them that the kids were able to maintain nonstop sidesplitting laughter over a daily body function that most adults have been socialized to hide. If we are responsible for our own emotions, I'll take laughter over embarrassment any day.

I keep thinking I am teaching my kids when it is really they who are teaching me.

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