Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Agony of Defeat

This is a hard moment in my parenting life.  Last year Wasabi Girl sailed through her gymnastics meets and ended up first place all around in her division at the statewide competition.  She was then, and still is, team captain.

This past weekend was the qualifying meet for the state championships.  A minimum cumulative score was required to qualify.  She held her own until the vault - and then bobbled it.  We held our breath in the stands.  Every competitor gets two tries on the vault and the best score is used.  But then she bobbled it again.  She knew the score she had to get and even from far away, we could tell how she felt from her body language when she saw her score.

She was brave, and held it together as best she could.  But she was clearly upset.

The girls sign a contract when they join the team, and right at the top is rule #1:  NO CRYING.  No matter what.  She wanted to.  I wanted to.  But the rule is there for a reason, and the competition had to finish.

After every gymnastics meet, all of the girls from all of the teams gather to sit on the floor during the awards ceremony.  There was the usual long delay while all the scores were tallied up and medals were labeled with winners' names.  While she sat, I watched from the stands, feeling so helpless to console her. 

But then I saw the demonstration of how beloved she is by her teammates.  I don't know what was said, and nothing was overly dramatic, but one by one they cozied up to her, threw an arm around her, leaned in on her shoulder.  It was a very quiet, and very beautiful demonstration of love and support on the part of these young women.  One very small member of the team even came and sat in her lap.

I'm so grateful, that as she grows and ventures out into the world where things aren't always easy, that my not-so-little girl is able to attract such a valuable support system.  Because sometimes rule #1 is just hard.

6 people stopped folding laundry to write:

Coloradolady said...

awww what a tough, tough thing. I remember last year....maybe the timing is not right. Still...the sting still hurts. Give her a hug for me, and tell her something wonderful is right around the corner.

Melissa said...

What a beautiful testimony nonetheless.

Krissy H said...

Okay - she might not have been allowed to cry but I'm crying reading your post...beautifully written and I'm so proud of her!

Roslyn said...

I witnessed the same kind of camaraderie when our sons were on swim teams, it teaches them SO much. And they learn that NO ONE not even the very best in the world, is always on top!

Tami said...

It is so hard to watch our kids be in pain. It's a good life lesson for them - dealing with disappointment - but so hard to watch. Moms want to fix everything. I love the no crying rule. Also a good life lesson for young ladies.

Cheryl Lage said...

Oh ThreeUnder, how heartbreaking. :( Glad I didn't have to sign a contract before reading this post. Beautifully articulated

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