Lessons in Sport as Taught by My 8 Year Old Daughter & Her Friends

Yesterday, I learned a lesson from a bunch of grade four girls.  I’m a mom to one of those grade four girls, my daughter, Caleigh.  She and her classmates have been going to cross country practice three mornings a week for the last month.  Caleigh has wanted to be on this team from the day it was announced that all grade four kids could try out.  She’s been going for runs at home and she didn’t skip one practice, even when it was cold or rainy.

Yesterday the team tryouts were held.  I was a little nervous for her because I know how much she wanted to be on the team.  Between this and gymnastics, it’s all she can talk about.  I would get daily reports on how many laps around the track she was doing.  She was learning how to stretch properly before and after working out.  We got her proper running shoes.  She has clearly found something she’s passionate about.  I also know that she, like her mother, is not very good at defeat.  We both have trouble losing in a game of Monopoly, let alone the disappointment of putting hours of work into something and not being able to compete.

Caleigh went off to the try outs yesterday morning and I followed with her brother and sister to school an hour later.  When I approached the field, all of her friends came running over with her at the helm.

Caleigh, grinning like a fool, was thrilled to announce that not only had she made the team but she placed first in her class.  Like any proud mom, I was so happy for her.  Big hugs.  High fives.  I know how hard she had worked and how much it meant to her.  But what blew me away was how all of her friends responded.

“You should have seen Caleigh!  She did so great!  She ran so fast!”

They were so happy for her and so excited that she had ran her heart out.  A lot of them made the team and there were a lot of high fives and hugs going around.  Of course, though, not everyone could, as with any sport.  But there was no jealousy and no pouting.  And I know there will be times where Caleigh won’t make a team, even though she wants it just as badly.  That’s the tough part about organized sport.  But even the girls who didn’t make it were happy for the girls that did.

Well, isn’t that a rare thing.  As an adult, I know I wouldn’t have handled it as well.  It’s TOUGH when you work hard for something and are out beat by someone who did a better, faster, or more efficient job.  And I realize that for them it won’t always be that way, but for that brief shining moment yesterday morning, it was a beautiful thing to watch.

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