My son, now nine years old, has been playing in a recreational soccer league for a couple of years. Since we started to play full field with soccer nets, our team has never won a game, although once we had a tie (1-1).
Our boys never game up. They keep coming back together to play. Last fall was pretty bad but they were all on board again this spring.
This week we received the “Good Sportsman” award for last fall’s season. After every game our team was rated and we received the highest score each time. When we were given the news, I think the parents all appreciated it. At least it was something. It’s difficult to see your kids out there losing every week. The kids did keep a good attitude.
One week we played a team with extremely obnoxious parents. They had black uniforms and called themselves “World Domination”. At the time, we didn’t know they had the best record. We held them off from scoring the entire first half but had no subs that week. By the second half our guys were exhausted. They wound up scoring ten points against us and the parents went crazy yelling every time. After six or so, you would think they would tone it down. It’s like rubbing it in our kids’ faces. We didn’t appreciate it. I was going to lead the dads over to “take them on” and several were ready to cross the field. We were only half kidding. We thought they were all jerks.
When our kids finally won a game (6-1) yesterday, we were cheering very loudly. Considering this team beat us last season, we had a major accomplishment. Something finally clicked with the team. Kids were playing different positions and my little guy was a forward. They were doing everything right. I couldn’t believe it! We were cheering loudly. We couldn’t help it. It just slipped out. Then we started to feel bad for the other team. Then we talked about how we were acting that that terrible World Domination team. Then a parent commented that he didn’t care, it felt so good to finally win! He joked that he was willing to give up the good sportsman award.
Who would have thought controlling our happiness would be harder than controlling our disappointment? Being a good sportsman was more difficult as a winner. As parents, we’re having just as much to learn as the kids. Hopefully we’ll have to continue to learn how to be good winners.