These children of ours, so innocent, so pure. Eventually they are going to have to learn those extremely difficult life lessons we all experience at one time or another. The hope as parents, is that the hard lesson is appropriate to the age of the child and not so far above them it becomes a trauma. On Saturday my little boy received his first visceral lesson in loosing.
We were all so excited and hopefully for Saturday’s soccer playoff game. Could they win it? They had a pretty damn good shot. Ranked 1st against the 4th place team. One which they had prevailed against earlier in the season. The energy was electric.
The game began slowly as the kids worked the ball back and forth, by the end of the first half we were all tied up at 0 – 0. In the second half Charlie would become the goal tender. While the children continued their 0 – 0 struggle, we began to question the implications of a tied game on the sidelines when insanity ensued. I have never seen anything like it before even in all of my childhood years as a competitive athlete. The spectators erupted on both sides while some of us chose to keep quite in order to keep the vomit at bay.
And it was all over, just like that.
With seconds left in the game the other team scored the winning goal on Charlie, and as the horn sounded the end, my poor boy could no longer hold the tears back. He would have the weight of the world on his shoulders in those minutes feeling completely and totally responsibility for the teams devastating defeat. He would have that emotion validated by the boys who would tell him that they thought he was a good goalie, but now they knew he wasn’t. He would decide that maybe he didn’t want to play soccer anymore. He would reason that if the coach would have put him in goal the first half, this never would have happened.
My dear, sweet baby, loosing sucks and I am so sorry!
How do I now impress upon you that loosing is no reason to throw in the towel? That loosing, while it doesn’t feel like it, is a necessary part of life? That you carry the weight of the world on your shoulders unnecessarily when it is the efforts of the team who join together to either win, loose, or draw? How do I help you see just how much you’ve won?
You have grown in leaps and bounds in your first season of competitive sports and not just in the context of learning the intricacies of the game itself which you knew nothing about mere months ago, but you’ve learned to work in a team. You’ve learned to listen to and respect your coach. That he may have a plan for you that is beyond what you may want at any given moment. You’ve also learned to respect the time and effort everyone has put into becoming a “team.” Unfortunately you’ve also earned that your peers can be mean. That some people seek to place blame, rather than accept responsibility or view the cup as “half full.” You’ve experienced the rush of what it feels like to be a winner and now you’ve felt the agony of defeat.
These are the valuable lessons we all must face, that I dare not shield you from. This is where character is built and how you face them and ultimately what you take from them is what matters most.
On my part, I hope to help you see that loosing this season will help you go into the next one stronger and that loosing is not the end of the world. I hope you’ve gained insight on how to respond to others in their times of loss, what makes a person feel good as opposed to bad when they are already down. Most importantly, I hope that you always know deep down into the core of your being that your family loves you, always and forever, win, loose or draw.