When it comes to sports my oldest son baffles me. He trains hard, never misses practice, yet he doesn’t win all that often. I really don’t want this to come off as cocky, but I never faced this problem growing up. I always won way more than I lost in everything I did. So did my siblings. My brothers were always chosen for the all-star baseball teams. My baby sister made it to nationals for her outstanding individual cheer-leading abilities. So I’m constantly wondering what I should say to him, because quite honestly after this much defeat, I don’t understand why he hasn’t given up. It’s not that I want him to be a quitter. I just want him to be happy. And to me—if I’m not winning, I’m not happy.
After his latest wrestling defeat, the boy was super down. It was his last match of the season. Once again we weren’t going to end a sport season on a high, but a low. As I made my way down the bleachers to where he sat, I kept thinking, what can I possible say that will make him feel better? My husband is always saying you learn from the losses, but all I’m getting from all this losing is a realization that it isn’t any fun. Thankfully, he spoke before I had regurgitate another one of those “all we can do is our best” consolation speeches.
“I’m tired of being the weak link in everything I do,” he said.
I nod thinking, oh here it comes. He’s done with sports altogether.
“I’m gonna lift weights like crazy for the rest of the year so I can come back stronger.”
“Oh! Sounds like a plan.”
Over and over he shocks me. I can’t get my mind around what he could possibly be getting out of all these losses, but he refuses to give up. He may never be the winning kid everybody cheers for, but I’m still proud of him. It takes way more courage to keep going back to any sport when you’re not considered the best and the coaches could care less if you show up.