If you’ve ever been a visitor here before, you know that we are sort of into sports. Okay. We are really into sports. You can read more about that here. We spent this past weekend like we do many weekends, on the sidelines cheering for on one of our favorite teams. But there was something about this time that felt different.
Maybe it was because they were playing for a spot in the State Cup Championship game. Maybe it’s the fact that these soon-to-be young men have spent months preparing for this moment, preparing for the possibility of being a champion. Or maybe, it was the way the field officials marched both teams out to present them to their fans. You could feel that this wasn’t just some game, you could feel that this was more. I know that as a fan, and as a mom, it felt like more. It was win or go home. It was 90 minutes of gut-wrenching suspense. An hour and a half of wanting to suit up and jump out there and be on the field with my kid. In the end, we did not have enough to hold on and went into overtime. Another 10 minutes of suspense and elevated blood pressures. One goal too short. Our season was over. This could very well be the last game this amazing group of boys play together.
Sometimes hard work and dedication are not enough. There are times when you need a little bit of luck, in this case, timing on your side. You start the ‘What If’ game. If only this happened. What if we did that instead. It’s hard. And for these soon-to-be young men, it hurts. My kid doesn’t usually show disappointment after a game that didn’t go their way. But this time was different. I saw emotion that I haven’t seen before. It was masked behind a fake smile. Even hidden beneath a smile, I know it was there. But you know what, something amazing happened. The “What If’s” faded away and were replaced with,”We had a great season!” “We almost didn’t qualify for this tournament, and we made it this far!!!” How can you be sad when you see things that way? A great learning moment in the making.
There is something to be said about sports being a learning experience for children. It is most definitely a learning experience for parents. Sure, we are not technically learning how to kick, shoot or throw a ball. But you learn things, my friends! In the beginning it is all about the sheer enjoyment of the game. The swelling pride that you feel when your child has accomplished a new skill. The emotions that you feel when your child scores their first goal, basket, and run. I remember each of these firsts, we’ve celebrated them and are so elated for all the goals, baskets and runs that have come after. But those are not the moments that stay with me. It’s moments like this weekend that will transform me the most. How to deal with that want and desire for your child to achieve and be successful that leaves you sort of helpless. How do you keep a stoic face to cover up the fact that Moms feel the hurt and disappointment almost as much as their babies do? How do you deal with that? Only time, victories and heartaches can teach you how to deal.
I love that we share these learning moments together. He learns that no matter what, win or lose, we are there for him – fiercely cheering him on. We learn that no matter what we do, there are some battles that are their’s and their’s alone. Even though every fiber of your being wants to do the fighting for them. All we can do is be there.
While this is still, more of less, just for fun. Because let’s face it people, this is not FIFA World Cup, not even close. There are some serious lessons that we’ve learned along the way. Some are plain and simple, others painful. I know that I’m far from finished with my lesson learning. But I am grateful that I’ve got amazing kids/partners in learning.