This past Saturday my daughter’s second grade soccer team had a game. It is the fourth game they’ve had; it is the first game her team has won the score was 4-0. Even with the recent losses my daughter’s team had a blast, which is great.
As I told her two Saturday’s ago, win or lose I do not care, just do the best you can and that is good enough for me, remember that. Now I know my daughter was not doing her best at previous games. She was nervous, facing strange kids were a new experience. She was not as bold as she usually is around her teammates or when we played soccer. I was OK with that. She would get over her fear or realize that she did not want to play soccer. This past Saturday she came out of her shell, and played as if she were playing against her teammates. She made use of her talents, speed (she’s faster than anyone out there) and her ability to manage the ball effectively. When the opposing team came towards her, she did not dance away from them (like she did in the past) she met them head-on, and in many cases took the ball from them.
Sitting on the sidelines, is a brand-new experience for myself. I can imagine how my father must have felt at the games. My brother and I dragged him too. My brother and I were athletic, very competitive, and fairly adept at the sports we played. We only became skilled at those games because we practiced, a lot. Dad was out there with us, and he encouraged us to do our best. My father is competitive; however, he never made my brother or I feel ashamed about our abilities, he did encourage us and at times gently challenge us to make use of our talents, and not be happy with just getting by. The encouragement we received from both of my parents had always made me want to do my best, even at times when I felt overwhelmed and just wanted to learn enough to get by. Thinking back to the first role models I had, I just could not do that.
Initially, I was a lot like my daughter, but with the urging of my father, brother, and my friends, well I became skilled at the games I played. I can remember being outside, after our homework was done playing basketball until it was too dark to see. We had friendly competitions in sports and grades too. We pushed each other to do better. A few years later, my father installed a light outside, so we could play after dark. I remember one year both of us coming home with most valuable player awards in sports. We received recognition in academics too, honor roll each semester. It wasn’t just about sports with us.
There’s nothing wrong with being competitive, as long as you do not make others feel inferior if their talents do not happen to be the same as yours. We are all different things that come easily for one person, might not be easy for others. I think we all have things that we’re naturally talented at, some time it takes a while to figure out what that is. I still apply a lot of the lessons I’ve learned from youth to some of the challenges I face now, some times I do need to regroup, just like sports sometimes I need to become better before I tackle a project.