I wanted to call them children. Sitting around with their expansive gestures and passionate generalisations. With their "we need to"s and their "we should"s. Boys who wanted to play at being men. But its easy to drive from the backseat. Its easy to play when you haven't got anything on the line, when you only know part of the story, when you can still pick yourself up, and dust yourself off and carry on with something else. It's easy when you're young, and not next in the batting lineup. I wanted to roll my eyes at them, and their big plans. I wiped the looks of disbelief from my face, and carefully repainted it with polite disinterest. I didn't point out the holes in their arguments, how futile I thought it to sit around and discuss what isn't up to them. Its not their place, I thought. They can't change anything, and I thought this converastion a waste of time.
So I bit my tongue, and said nothing. They mistook my silence for exhaustion, and after a while I stopped listening to their words. Its funny how when you do that, you hear the truth of it. I heard their dedication, their loyalty. Their love for the game, and their frustration at where they were at. I heard their optimism for moving forward and I heard their commitment. I heard their fear, and their courage in sticking it out. I heard their hopes, I heard their love, and I heard their passion.
I heard all that these boys, with their bravado, don't say with words.
And I wondered when it was that I got so old and cynical. When it was that I stopped noticing how it was these boys who pushed the game along, who kept it moving with their ideas and determination. That it was this, the sitting around and expressing and sharing and verbalising that gives them something to hold on to. That keeps them in the game, instead of being chewed up and spat out. They are boys with big plans. They may be plans that may or may not be given the chance to fly, but plans that keep them striving for the top just the same.
I felt bad, after that. For not listening to what they were saying. For not giving weight to their ideas. For thinking that such conversations were of little consequence, a waste of time. For not remembering that sometimes its not the words, but what drives the words to the surface that matter. That the indefinable something that keeps you going can be hidden in a conversation. In the "we should"s and "we need to"s. That the meaningless can have meaning. That a conversation can be used to touch base, and reconfirm that they are right to keep pushing, keep moving, keep playing the game.
In the end I left them to it. Driving away before they could really get down to the bones of it. I felt like I was intruding, with my pessimism and lack of understanding. I hope that these boys find what they are looking for in the game they are playing. I hope that they come up smelling of roses, and that all their hard work is rewarded. I wish them all the best, really. Fingers crossed they find what they are looking for.