“I’m sure she’ll make the team.”
“That is a given. Look at her mom!”
“It’s a sure thing. She’s just like you.”
I heard every variation of these sentiments in the months leading up to my daughter’s high school tryouts. Even now, when someone makes a similar comment, my hackles rise.
Reflecting back on the summer induces a repeat of the ever-present anxiety my daughter and I both felt, and releases flashbacks to the endless conversations about how being cut from a team is “absolutely difficult” and “most definitely NOT the end of the world.”
Ultimately, all you can do is your best. Leave that kind of effort out on the floor and no matter what happens, you can walk away with pride.
That gem comes from my binding-broken 38th edition of Best Mom Cliches.
It’s exactly the kind of completely true sentiment I would’ve rolled my eyes at in high school. To my daughters credit, she nodded and at least pretended to take the advice to heart.
I lived within a parental vise for those months. It tightened as the days went by and I did my best to help her navigate two realities; hard work, attitude/coach-ability, and repetitions make you better… and sometimes that isn’t enough.
TO HER CREDIT, she made the team this fall. In this particular case, her hard work, attitude/coach-ability, and repetitions paid off. She learned a great lesson—one she would’ve learned should she make the team or not.
I want to scream from the roof tops and to every person who comments, “Of course, she made it!” or implies that because I was a collegiate athlete, competing in the same sport, she was somehow all but guaranteed a position on the team—I want to scream in the faces of those folks, “GIVE HER CREDIT!”
When a kiddo puts in the time, sweat, tears, and effort… don’t steal their due thunder by implying it was “a given,” “assured,” or “guaranteed.” Whether it be sports, academics, clubs, the arts… whatever and wherever their passions lie… GIVE THEM CREDIT when they slay.
I want to be clear, this isn’t about ego.
This is about LIFE—the HARD EARNED and the HARD LEARNED.
How can we expect our young people to become adults who “work for it” if we reinforce the idea things aren’t legitimately earned, but rather awarded based on some predetermined set of conditions based on genetics and/or circumstance? Moreover, how do we empower our young people to own their successes and learn from their shortfalls; to be proud of their efforts—because “best efforts” are something for which to show pride—come win or loss, if we steal ownership and give it away to someone or something else?
This lost concept is maddening to me. Maybe my sensitivity to the issue has to do with my time as a coach? Maybe it is because of my time as a player? I’ve been both coach and player for more years than I’ve been a mom. I don’t know.
What I do know is this experience has been a lesson for both my daughter and for me.
Responsibility is as important a life lesson as any. We are all responsible for our own behavior. We are each owners of our work ethic, our choices, and the consequences of both. We will all fall short. We will, each of us, at times give our all… and it will not be enough.
But, damn it, sometimes all that work pays off and we SLAY the DAY.
Sometimes our young people do the same. And they deserve the credit when they do.