Winnng and Losing: A Parent’s view
Frustration, joy, sadness, madness, tears, laughter, despair, and rapture: The emotional journey both winning and losing brings. As parents of athletes, we all have felt the same emotions. It is rare to see parents who sit in the stands and are emotionless. In my years, I have seen it! I am truly in awe of the people that can do it. How can they possibly not engage in some sort of emotional response? How can you not be completely and utterly passionate about your child’s team doing well? I will admit that I am vocal (sometimes more than others) at my children’s games. I have learned to temper my cheering/outbursts over the years. Some people may disagree, but I have learned to pick and choose which battles are worth it. Just as a parent, not all things are worth getting revved up over. I have been passionate about the team on different levels, individual players, coaches, and the refs. I am not even going to discuss the refs. That will be an entirely different discussion. All I will say is that education is a good thing.
How do we as parents encourage our wonderful athletes to learn with each win or loss, and to not blame? When we parents get so riled up at games, how to we then switch gears and de-brief with our athletes after a game, win or loose? I know that as we drive home from a game, that there will be a discussion about the game. I have to prepare myself for the talk, what to say, or how to listen to them talk. I have found with each kid, it is a different interaction. If one of my son’s loses a game, he will not speak, and does not want me to say a word to him. When he is ready, he will talk about it, and then I listen. My daughter’s on the other hand, will begin to dissect the game as we are walking out to the car, they will talk non-stop, win or lose. What I usually interject is did you have fun, and how do you think you played into their non-stop discussion.
These are some of the most valuable conversations a parent can have with their children. To share their own personal achievements, to see how they handle winning and losing, how they ingest their performance, this all reveals how they will handle life as it presents itself to them. This is a teaching and learning tool that should not be taken lightly as parents. This is where we have to put our agenda aside, and truly set good examples for our athletes. One thing for sure is that we don’t ever want to play the blame game. Well, the refs blew this one, well that player didn’t perform well, well the coach is stupid, well, and the sun was in my eyes!
We all may really, really, really, want to say horrible nasty things about the refs, the coach, the other players, however that simply will not suffice when we are role models for our athletes. We can commiserate with them, and feel their happiness and pain.