Saturday, October 9, 2010

Changing the Rules

My granddaughter’s last home volleyball game was Thursday night. Somehow I had never seen the volleyball schedule and had missed every game so far. I looked at my calendar and sighed.

“I have an SBW meeting Thursday,” I told my son, Eric, when he called to tell me about the game. The games started at 5:30 in a nearby town, but I don’t get off work until 6:00. Still, I had intended to take some vacation to go to some of the home games.

“Well, maybe you can go to her tournament. That will be either next Saturday or the next one, I’m not sure which,” Eric said.

I didn’t have to look at my calendar to know that it didn’t matter which Saturday—both were booked solid. “I’ll just take off work early and be a little late to my meeting,” I said.

Before I left work, I gave Brenda (co-worker and SBW member) the money to pay for my dinner. She said she would save me a place. “Ask them to serve my meal and if I’m late, I’ll just eat it cold.” I figured that if necessary I could leave before the game ended and be only fifteen minutes late.

I arrived at the gymnasium just as the “B” Team was finishing up their game. I found Eric, Shawna, and Shawna’s mom and dad sitting on the bleachers. Soon the “A” Team finished their warm up and the game was on.

I played on the volleyball team when I was in school and on both a women’s recreational team and a co-ed team with Jim when I was younger. I settled in to watch the game confident that at least this was a game I understood.

A girl served the ball and it went out of bounds. The scoreboard chalked up a point for the other team. I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me. Then, a girl on our team served the ball and the other team returned it, our girls dropped it, so score another point for the visiting team.

“I don’t understand why they are getting points,” I said to Shawna. “Only the team serving can make points.”

“Either team can score regardless of who serves,” she said.

“Yeah, they’ve changed the rules since we were in school,” said Shawna’s mom, Wanda. “At first I was really confused.”

My granddaughter was her team’s best server. She scored five quick points just by tossing the ball in the air and slamming it over. “We couldn’t serve overhand in school,” I said.

As I watched the game, I realized the changes made it a much faster paced game. I suppose that’s much more suited to today’s faster paced world.

On my way to my meeting, I pondered on how many rules have changed over the years. When I was young and dressed up, the only question was whether to wear short or long white gloves. Shoes were generally black or white and you didn’t wear the white ones after Labor Day or before Easter. Everyone dressed up for church, and you wouldn’t have dreamed of wearing your blue jeans or shorts and sneakers. Girls wore dresses to school—it was in the rules.

Some of the rules of life have changed. I heard on the news that for the first time in America, more couples live together without tying the knot than couples who are married. How could such a thing happen? Just to mention a few reasons: people marry later in life, divorce can be financially devastating, there is little to no stigma attached to having children when the parents aren’t married. Sometimes when a loved one has a serious illness, like Alzheimer’s, couples divorce to be able to afford nursing home care.

Rule changes affect everything and everyone around us and can be either good or bad. Changes are bad when it makes things easier, but not better. Rule changes are good if they make the mundane or outdated fresh and new. They may be good if the only good reason for keeping a rule is “that’s the way it’s always been done.”

When I walked into my meeting every woman in the room faced the flag with her hand over her heart. I stopped inside the doorway and joined them to recite the same Pledge of Allegiance I had learned in elementary school. There is no doubt that some rules are better left alone.

Copyright © 2010 L. S. Fisher
Post a Comment