Thursday, January 28, 2016

The Losing Team

I haven't been a sports parent all that long, but thus far, the rebelangel has always tended to be on the winning teams.
You can't always get a medal. But keep trying!

In basketball the year before Nicaragua, her team took 2nd in the city.

In soccer this fall, again, 2nd in the all-city tournament.

Not too bad.

And even on those winning teams, the rebelangel has managed to be a standout player who shows loads of hustle and heart -- two things all coaches want to see, no matter what.

Now onto this year's basketball team.

The team is a new one with a new -- and young -- coach. They're in the feeder program for their high school, so allegedly all of these girls will be playing together and going to school together through high school. But for now, they're all spread out, coming from different middle schools or K8's and hardly knowing each other at all. Some of them haven't ever played basketball. Some of them haven't ever played sports at all.

As the world-traveling feminist parent that i am, i'm cheered to see so many Latinas and girls of all colors joining the team, because it means we're making headway in overcoming the gender bias and barriers that have kept girls on the sidelines worldwide. (See my posts about girls soccer in Nicaragua for more rants on that.)

Still, a new team with a young coach and new players has resulted in one thing: We suck.

Like really bad.

Like so bad that the rebelangel told me that she couldn't remember the last time they won a game. (It was last week, but who could remember the score, when there was a fight between parents of opposing teams, that stole the spotlight?)

It's painful to watch sometimes, and to tell you the truth i often question why i didn't scout out a better team for her before the season began.

But then i stop myself. You can't be on a winning team all the time, or you're never going to know how it feels to lose. You're going to miss out on things like the joy of a victory hard-fought, the grit of learning to overcome challenges, the plain truth of the fact that life isn't fair and that even good shots get missed. I never wanted to hear my parents say "this will build character," but that's exactly what it's doing.

The rebelangel still goes out hard at every game, so for her i know it's not all about winning.

So maybe the biggest lesson here is the one i am learning.

If at first you don't succeed...try, try, try...


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