Monday, December 22, 2008
Volleyball tryouts were last week and Annie was hoping to make the "A" team, where most of her friends would likely be assigned. I knew that the "A" team was a stretch, so I tried to hedge her bets by reminding her that lots of girls went out and only so many girls could be assigned to the "A" team.
We got an e-mail today letting us know that she did not make the "A" team, or even the "B" team, but has been placed on the "C" team. The majority of players on that team are 5th graders, with Annie and two other 6th graders rounding out the roster. She was crushed.
"Mom, I'm so embarrassed! I don't want to play on the "C" team! I don't want to play at all," she literally cried.
I tried to console her with such logical statements as "You have a real chance to be a leader on the "C" team because you're one of the 6th graders" and "You might make some new friends with some of the 5th graders you don't know."
But what I wanted to do was stomp my feet and beat my fists and rant about how "they" didn't know what they were doing when they put her on the "C" team. I wanted to theorize that her glasses are loose and in need of repair and she was inhibited by that. I wanted to tell her that of course she can quit and I totally understand why she wouldn't want to waste her time on the "C" team.
But I didn't. Because while all of those things might have made her -- and me -- feel better at the moment, none of those things would give her the benefit of using this trial to make her a stronger, better person.
I know how she feels, though. I was cut from my fair share of teams -- two soccer and a basketball team, if I remember correctly. I remember the feelings of embarrassment, of not feeling good enough, of being shut out of somewhere I desperately wanted to fit in. I still curse the name of Matt Money who cut me from the freshman and senior high school soccer teams. But I was the kid and not the mother, which makes this all the harder.
However, I have to remind myself, she was not cut. She has a spot on a team. Not the team she wanted. But a team where she does have a chance to learn and grow and contribute. And so I'll drive back and forth to practices, go to every game, cheer her on as though her name is Misty May and the musty CYO gym is a sandy volleyball pit in Beijing.
I will be a good sport and show her how to be one as well. (And when she's not looking, I just might stick my tongue out at the bozos who put her on the "C" team.)