Thursday, April 10, 2008

It Isn't Everything

I strongly believe that self-esteem is built by understanding your strengths and weaknesses, and becoming comfortable with yourself within that context. This is why I don't (always) let Connor win when we play games. And it's why, Tuesday morning, I chose to tell him the cold hard truth. "Son, I need to tell you that Kansas won that game last night- not the Tigers."

He started in with gusto, "What!?! They lost! Aw, man!" The pouting was severe. I took a deep breath and then, in a move contrary to my usual competitve nature, began the speech that only Moms and Little League coaches can get away with giving. "It's okay, really. No one can win every game," I said, maybe a little too brightly, but Connor was not interested in that load of crap. "But they should have won! I wanted them to win!" Man- I could not have agreed more. I continued to hold my ground, telling some lie about how, while of course I would have enjoyed a win more than a loss, I'm still proud of them, blah blah blah. Connor never really agreed with me, but he quit pouting and moved on so I didn't push it.

When we got to his school, every adult there was bitching and moaning about that loss. And at the end of the day I learned that even the Spanish teacher had gotten in on the act, teaching them to say "mad" in Spanish since we are all mad that the Tigers lost. What the hell! You people are supposed to be shaping the mind of my child. Can't you at least pretend that losing is okay? Use this as a teachable moment rather than an opportunity to encourage my child's burgeoning bad attitude. I've been pretending, and I'm not even the one being paid to raise him! Get on board!


I began the Mom/Little League Coach brainwashing again, seemingly from scratch, on the way home. As we drove down Central, I tried to explain to Connor that this was the University of Memphis, this is where the Tigers go to school. That's confusing, but he tried to grasp it. He pointed in delight to the sign on the side of a building that displayed the Tiger logo. "That looks just like our tattoos! What does the sign say?" I told him that it said "Thank you, Tigers!" A few minutes later he asked, "Mom, why did that sign say thank you? They lost!" Sigh.

This led to a much more productive discussion, one involving the numbers 38 and 2, one in which we talked about how the loss made us upset, about what the players might have learned from losing, what they might do differently when they practice, and so on. I think I broke through a little bit, that he understands it's okay to want to win, but maybe there are ways to handle losing.

Then we went home and practiced free throws.

1 comment:

RJA said...

We listen to the radio in the car.