Earlier this year, I wrote about my son’s (or rather my) struggles with a new basketball team he’d joined. Now here I am two months later, still grappling with the same issues… but with a new learning.
In case you missed it, the basic gist was this: My son spent the winter on a competitive travel basketball team. He was far from the best player on his team and, at the time of that post, was sitting the bench quite a bit. And though I was upset, I forced myself to see some positives in the whole thing.
As the season went on and things didn’t improve, I continued to get riled up. I tried to keep my mouth shut as I watched the coach play his favorites. I tried not to be “that mom” who gets mad cause her kid is being treated “unfairly.” I tried to show enthusiasm for it all while in the presence of my son. But it was hard.
Not gonna lie; I did not enjoy this season of travel basketball. No question. I was blindsided by the level of commitment involved. I was taken aback by the coach’s less-than-warm response to the fact that my son would miss a game or two (out of about 30) for a some more pressing personal priorities. I was not prepared for his intense need to win at the expense of my child. I felt it unnecessary for this team to be entered into tournaments that would require sometimes 5 games in one weekend. It was intensity times ten! They’re in 4th grade, not being scouted for college ball.
But I kept going… trudging along with a fake smile on my face.
The season came to a close on Friday night and the team ended out on top; they won championship for the league. Yay! But once again, my son sat the bench for the entire second half of the game. He was the only one who sat the bench for the entire second half of the game. Nine of the ten kids on the team got decent playing time, except for mine. But they won. And that’s all that matters, right? [she says while muttering profanities under her breath]
Damn, I was pissed! As the game progressed and it was clear he wouldn’t be put in again, I got up off the bleachers and went out into the hallway to watch the rest of the game. I couldn’t risk saying something I’d regret while sitting amongst the other parents.
I was fuming. And just as I was about to demand my husband give the coach a piece of
my his mind (which I’m sure he wouldn’t have done), I saw the look on my son’s face as the buzzer sounded; it was a look of sheer happiness and excitement. And I magically gained some perspective.
Here’s where I netted out…
He wasn’t the one upset, I was. He learned a ton about the game of basketball. He improved a great deal throughout the season. He developed thicker skin. He made new friends. He mastered the art of cheering on his team from the sidelines. He had an awesome attitude—never sulking or crying or pouting.
This ten year old showed more grace and composure than his 39 year old mother.
My awesome child amazed me with his optimistic attitude, his selfless behavior and his eagerness to learn—even though things didn’t always go his way. And I now find myself taking cues from a ten year old about what it means to stay positive in the face of disappointment.
I’m so glad I gave birth to this child. In doing so, I created a whole person whom I get to admire.
At the end of the day, I give myself this simple advice:
Chill out mama bear. You need to relax and roll with it sometimes!