The elusive goal

Hailee wants to score a goal in soccer, so badly. She has played soccer for several years now and has never scored a goal. A big part of that has been because she most often plays mid-field. But also, she isn’t aggressive and confident when she gets close to the goal. She has amazing assists for other teammates to score, but has yet to earn that glory herself…and it’s wearing on her.

Today she came close to scoring but another teammate ran in front of her and took the ball from her and scored instead. This deflated Hailee’s spirits the rest of the game. It also left her in tears in our car after the game.

It can be painful to watch, as your child psychologically spirals into self-doubt, embarrassment and shame. I tried encouraging her from the sidelines but she’d shoot me evil glances and thought I was “yelling” at her. I felt helpless watching her lose her fire and barely follow the game because she was so lost in her head.

As I continued to shout encouragement from the sidelines, I had flashbacks of my childhood sport-playing days and my own mom shouting at me from the sidelines. My mom was one of the loudest moms and my biggest cheerleader. She could also embarrass me. I remember her shouting once, “Smile Anna!” I don’t remember the context but I must have been grumpy and down, because either I, or my team, or both weren’t playing well. Was I sensitive and insecure like Hailee? Did I deflate easily?

I am always fascinated how life spins a full circle and how our children are little mirrors of ourselves. Aren’t I still sensitive?

Oh Hailee, we are so alike. We both feel things easily and deeply. Having this emotional sensitivity can be challenging, for sure. But Hailee, something I’ve learned that I want you to understand, is the importance of continuing to TRY. To not let yourself get bowled over for long. To pull yourself back up. To figuratively and literally, get back in the game! Pushing into the hard, making countless mistakes, learning from them, building resilience and strength, is how you will eventually score that elusive goal! But more importantly, it is also how you will learn that you can DO hard things.

Packards do hard things and we are strong. I will do my very best to try to teach you these important lessons. Maybe that was what my mom was doing from the sidelines all those years ago and that is what I will be doing for you! I will be forever, your cheerleader! I will probably embarrass you and annoy you. But I will continue to believe in you (loudly) until you also believe in yourself!

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