Disappointment leads to learning

My husband Doo and I have been through the emotional ringer twice in the last week. Two of our children were trying out for school sports teams− the first time either has experienced an honest-to-God tryout, where, gasp, they MAY NOT MAKE IT!

Our freshman soccer hopeful has been playing since he was five, starting with rec leagues and then on to the sell-your-organs-to-afford travel circuit.  He’s okay.  Doo and I gave him a fifty-fifty chance, considering he was up against forty other ninth-graders.  The tryouts themselves were brutal– doubles for three days, with the selection coming at the end of the last practice.  When we pulled into the parking lot, we could see the coaches settling down about a hundred teenagers, and delivering the standard “Thanks for your effort, we can’t take all of you, blah, blah, blah.”  I felt sick. His best hope was that they could see his potential (he’s almost six feet tall), but even then, his odds were slim.  I muttered one last Hail Mary, and then suddenly, it was happening.  Boys began jumping up and running off to a distant huddle.

Our son’s name was not called.  I was in shock.  Somewhere deep down I had harbored the notion that his making the team was a sure thing.  How could this have happened?  What was wrong with these coaches?  Why did they hate my child?  The tears came when Doo took him into Yogurtz.  All those years, all that work.  Was it too late to transfer him to a smaller school? Crazy thoughts zoomed through my mind until I forced myself to get a grip.  He’s only fourteen, for God’s sake. He’ll get over it.  But would I?

Our daughter’s volleyball tryouts started the following Tuesday.  She’s only been playing for a year, so I wasn’t expecting much, but as she plowed her way through the four-day process, I became cautiously optimistic.  After all, she only had to beat out five others.  On Friday, Doo and I found ourselves once again in a parking lot.  We fidgeted anxiously as individual girls emerged from the school’s double-doors.  Some were crying, and we secretly cheered.  Imagine that!  Supposed-adults celebrating when a poor little seventh-grader’s dream has just been crushed.  Doo and I had been reduced to psycho parents.  Finally, our daughter appeared.  Stoic, then all smiles.

But she too was a “no.” Jeeze-Louise!  Who do I have to pay to get a kid on a stupid team?

In my heart I know these setbacks are good learning experiences.  But right now, I’m sad that they won’t have the unique opportunity to play for their schools.  And I’m exhausted.  Real tryouts are just too stressful.  Peace out.