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  • Ashleigh Ogilvie-Lee

Blog 10 - From a Villa in Grey Lynn - Jamie goes to waterpolo

"I never lose; I either win or I learn."

Charley, Gus, and I went to watch Jamie play water polo at the AUT Millennium Pool, where toddlers learn to swim, and research is conducted on high-performance sports and their effects on athletes.

Certainly, Jamie is a worthy subject of research. I believe he might be mad! Einstein says that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. I had the misfortune to witness such behavior on Sunday morning at 9 am poolside.

As the game started, I proudly watched my boy score a few goals while Jacquie, a half-American woman, sat in front of me, swishing her marvellous hair. Then, halfway through the second quarter, Jacquie, who can interpret the semaphoric whistle blows of the referee, says, "Oh no, Jamie’s been rolled."

It seems that after 20 years of playing water polo, my son still believes that one day the referee will listen to his opinion on a call. In this instance, the other team was taking a penalty shot from the 5-meter line. According to Jamie, the guy taking the shot had crept up 200 centimeters and was therefore closer to the goal than he should be. Jamie thought the ref would reply, "Why, yes, thank you, Jamie. My goodness, I missed that!"

Instead, the ref seemed to be alerted to having a smart alec in the pool. He blew his whistle in a series of short blasts which translated to asking Jamie to get out of the pool, remain out, stay out of his vision line for the rest of the game, and remove his cap. I watched sadly as Jamie removed his cap with the protective ear muffs and swam languidly, like a dying swan, to the side of the pool. I had nostalgic flashbacks of my own walks of shame, in my short cocktail dress, carrying the stilettos I had danced around in, with such gay abandon, and now couldn’t even put on.

With Jamie out of the game, I have to churlishly admit I did think I might go and have a coffee. As I made small movements to this effect, Jacquie swings her marvelous hair around and gleefully asks, "You’re not leaving, are you?" "Of course not," I mutter, knowing full well that the sort of mother who would leave the game just because her child has been ejected is just the sort of mother who would beget a rude child who gives the ref lip. So, I gamely sat on.

At the end of the game, Jamie returned to the pool square to commiserate with his teammates. He asked them if they think he should apologize to the referee. Opinions were divided, with some teammates thinking it was a tough call and that a time out would have been more appropriate than a prison sentence. However, Jamie made the call to apologize and came back, saying the ref and he shared some friendly banter, and the ref said, "Don’t worry, you won anyway."

I'm not sure if winning is as important to earnest researchers as the role of sport in the development of a dutiful citizen. However, I was very proud of Jamie for apologizing, as it confirms he is not a narcissist because a narcissist can never fess up to any wrongdoing. I asked Jamie if he’d mind if I wrote a little piece about his experience, and he said, "Only if you mention that I got 5 of the 12 goals," confirming he is mad, but I think it is good to be mad in a mad, mad, mad, mad world.

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