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Monday, December 22, 2008

On being a good sport


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.)


Eternal Lizdom said...

I remember similar scenarios in my past... and there was always a silver lining, always a reason. I was on the JV volleyball team in high school. I admired the Varsity team but my skill level definitely wasn't at that level. But I made huge imporvements by playing JV. Even got a sports award at the end of that season- never would have happened in my lifetime if I hadn't played JV.

And then there was my first role in the local community theatre scene. I got cast as a nurse in The Secret Garden. I literally walked on and off in 2 scenes. No lines, no interaction. Pointless role. But I wanted to get my foot in the door so I took it. And one of the chorus ghosts had to drop out, I got moved up... and made lifelong friends and connected into the theatre community.

Life will take on a journey you never expected if you sit back and enjoy the ride!

Mike Magan said...

I failed to make my share of teams and didn't play at all even though I loved soccer. It has been fun to see Charlie succeed where I failed, but the true test of character is responding to (perceived) defeat.

If she really likes volleyball she will enjoy the the experience.

Cindi said...

It's so hard when it's your child who's been hurt like this.

Maybe she will play so well that the coach will say "why in the world is she on the C team and not the B team? Or the A team?"

Yes, she'll learn from this, but right now that's not what she wants to hear.

Good luck to all of you!

Joanie said...

It's SO hard to be the parent when your kid doesn't make the team, get the role, etc. I hope your daughter stasy on the team. Experience could make her a better player and she'll do better next year!

When my older daughter was cast as the understudy to Anybodys in West Side Story in college, I REALLY wanted something to happen to the girl who had the role so Gina could go on.

Now my younger daughter just got cast as Little Red Riding Hood in her high school's production of Into The Woods when she rally wanted to be the Witch or Cinderella.

Yes, it seems I've raised 2 drama queens (the younger one will also be going to college for theatre.)

I'm thinking of getting a vanity plate that reads DRMA MMA. :)

Anonymous said...

Well, there is a plus side, she will get a lot of playing time. Being on the V team means the same select few will play and the rest our there to round out the team. Many prayers she can overcome all the emotions and play well and be happy.