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Trying Times

It feels like yesterday that the middle school and high school fall sports tryouts happened – and that means that it feels like yesterday plus one day that the Facebook airing of successes and grievances happened. Someone’s kid got a coveted spot: “Haley/Madison/Kylie made the team! So excited!” and then someone’s kid did not get a spot and it’s all “I can’t believe it, it’s rigged, they pick favorites, ugh ugh ugh.” But the seasons roll round and round and so since it’s time for winter sports, I thought it valuable to share a great lesson from a wingmom’s personal experience this fall:

My friend Cindy – an impressive businesswoman + supermom – was confronted with both sides of the same coin: one daughter made the team, one didn’t. Hard to digest, sure. How do you deal with that? Here’s her answer in four bite-size (i.e. easily replicable) points.

1. Be proud that you tried out at all. Taking risks – trying out – is an important life skill and even though you may not always like the outcome, trying out is something you will do again and again in life. Better to try and fail than never try at all.

2. Making the team or not making the team is just that: an isolated incident where you were assessed on your ability to demonstrate one particular set of skills as compared to others exhibiting the same set of skills for a limited number of spots. If making the team is that important, then let’s work together on developing the skill set required and try, try, try again.

3. (this one’s my favorite) Don’t you dare tie any self-worth or confidence to this decision because is is independent of the remainder of your experience with this school, this group, this sport. This is one occurrence. This alone is not indicative of any other aspect of your life.

4. As you get older, risks have higher stakes and outcomes are more important and disappointment will get bigger. But experiences will become richer and wins will becoming more meaningful.

It’s no fun to parent the disappointed kid that didn’t make the team. We don’t get to only parent on the easy days. Hope this short list will help make a bad day better – it did for me.

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