Disappointed for You, Not in You.
By Jon Buzby
For thousands of dads around the country the next few weeks brings with it more anxiety than their worst day at work ~ high school training camps open up and there’s a chance your son or daughter is getting cut from the team!
The sport is irrelevant, it’s more the fact that your child might experience the disappointment of that after practice “call into the coaches office” or even worse, the posting of the list that is inevitably not going to include his name. Not everyone will get cut, but many will. Not every dad will care, but most will.
So how do we deal with it? Yes, we as in dads.
Most of us dads (and yes, as many moms) have committed the better part of our adult life making sure our kids get to practice, work on their skills in between practices, attend games on time, get lectured after games, practice in between seasons and are still excited to signup again next year (almost as excited as us dads).
My son is getting ready to tryout for his high school soccer team. 40 kids are trying out for 16 spots on the freshman team. 40 former local and travel team superstars vying for 16 spots.
I went through it in high school. Thousands of other dads around the country have too. The difference is, this time it’s my kid. No matter how much I tried to stress to him the importance of getting in shape and being ready for that first day, the summer heat made sleeping in, video games and fantasy football preparations much more appealing. And now he is less than two weeks away from two-a-days. Just last night following the team meeting and the coach stressing about being in shape for that 2 mile run on the first day, he asked me what I thought about his fitness level.
My answer was simple. “You’ve been out of school for 60 days and probably taken a run or done some sort of fitness activity on maybe five of them. You tell me?”
I wasn’t going to lie to him. But I also stressed that no matter the outcome of the tryouts he’ll be able to use it as a learning experience and I’ll be fine either way. (Ok, that was a little lie. Every dad wants their son to make the team.)
My wife told me to stop worrying about it. And she’s right. This is a case where we gave him every “tool” he needed to best prepare him for these tryouts. He has weights, a jump rope, a personally designed workout schedule and our complete support. I’ve told him hundreds of times he doesn’t need any equipment for pushups or sit-ups. He chose not to take advantage of these things. Nothing I can do about that.
It probably won’t make it any easier when I get that call from him telling me he got cut. But hopefully I’ll remember then what I’m writing now ~ that not every child is going to make every team and something good will come out of it down the road as hopefully my son will get from this experience what all of us hope our kids (and ourselves) get from every good or bad experience ~ a lesson they’ve learned that they can take with them for the future.
All over America in the next few weeks there will be cuts made. Our job as parents is to make sure that we don’t let our frustrations show. No child tries out for a team hoping to get cut. Some don’t prepare properly but the last thing they need is to think they’ve let us down over making a team.
Deep down, I’ll be as disappointed as him ~ maybe more so.
More importantly, no matter how much I think he could have prepared better or differently, that’s not the lecture he’ll need to hear when he calls to tell me he got cut.
At that point I plan to be past the frustration (I still have a long way to go ~ fortunately cuts are two weeks away so there’s time) of watching him not prepare properly and instead do what I should do, what every parent should do ~ be disappointed for him, not in him.
That’s the message I plan to convey to him. That’s the message every child released from a team should hear from a parent when they make that call. That’s the message they need to hear.
Won’t you join me?
Jon Buzby is a freelance writer and has published two books, “Coaching Kids: It’s More than X’s and O’s” and “Raising a Sports Fanatic.” Both books are available at Amazon.com.