Another Milestone in Growing Up: No More Participation Ribbons
Have I mentioned that I love sports?!? As the 8th grade girls travel basketball season ends, I’m reflecting on this milestone and writing as a parent instead of a coach. Basketball is my favorite sport, my favorite season. Some people get excited to go to the beach in March; our beach is March Madness! Besides being a high school and college player, I grew up with my dad playing (and still does), coaching me and my brother, and still being a mentor to our kids.
This season I was a parent, not a coach: a milestone for me.
A full-time parent. My only focus was to make sure all snacks and drinks were packed, the schedule was printed and to have our post game ritual…sharing observations about what was great and what needs work the next game. Some say that it is all about fun. I agree totally. And I will add that kids have a lot more fun when their hard works pays off. Personally, our role as parents is shining the light down that path, so they can see what is possible and to help them achieve THEIR goals.
Not only was I in the stands for games this year, we were the new kids on an existing team who had been together for 5 years prior. At the least, it was a bit intimidating, yet it still felt right. We knew the parents, but didn’t ‘know’ them. It was time for these girls to be playing with the same girls they will play their high school career with.
A new level of competition and teamwork: a milestone for my child.
I’m thankful for coaches who adopted Callyn like she had been there for years. This is what surprised me the most. The level of commitment they have to the girls is unparalleled. I’m thankful for a new set of eyes on individual player development and team development. I’m thankful for these coaches being role models to the girls. They are kind, loving, yet are also honest and straight forward. I’m thankful for meeting new (and likely long lasting) friends.
Man, I love sports. They closely resemble the game of life. It isn’t about everyone getting a green ribbon for participation because they showed up, but instead working hard together to deserve something much greater. Sports are about respecting your peers, the coaches and your opponents. It is about being committed to something bigger than yourself. It is about having others depend on you, sometimes more than we depend on ourselves. It is about seeing your team as a puzzle, knowing that every single piece matters. It isn’t always about the destination, but the process of getting there and what we learn along the way.
Sports teach us to be kind and act with love even when you’re challenged physically, mentally and emotionally. Sports break down barriers so even when you’re pushed to your perceived limit, your teammates help you be better.
Sports help you find the true winner, your true self.
Character is how I would describe this team. In our generation, kids and parents alike act like they deserve that green ribbon just for showing up. Sports, no different than life, doesn’t work that way. Teach our children to work hard, believe in themselves and be a team player and the sky is the limit. If you shoot for the moon, you’re bound to land among the stars.
Thank you to all coaches, parents and players for showing true character and being role models to our girls in their formative years. Continue to strive for greatness in all that you do.
“Somewhere behind the athlete you’ve become and the hours of practice and the coaches who have pushed you is a little girl who fell in love with the game and never looked back… play for her.”– Mia Hamm