Come to find out I am an obnoxious sports fan. Never much of an athlete myself, this revelation has come as a bit of a surprise.
I like to wear the jersey. Sometimes I yell at the TV (I come by this genetically). I cheer until I lose my voice and every once in a while during really special events (like the Olympics) I might even get a little tear in my eye if a game/event doesn’t work out for the team/athlete I’m cheering for.
A couple years ago, on a trip to Whistler, we happened to be there during an Ironman race. We even knew one of the racers so on the morning of the race we got up early to watch. We sipped coffee from the deck of our house and watched the swim, yelling and cheering as the contenders raced out of the chilly mountain water. Then we walked down the road to watch the bike race portion and I’m not joking, even a little bit, when I say that in less than an hour I was completely hoarse from cheering on the bikers. I probably screamed enough for at least 10 people.
So imagine how out-of-control I can be watching my own kid. Oh my gosh. It’s not pretty people, I have zero chill. This weekend was a fun relay race our town hosts called Gap2Gap. Kids form teams of 2 to 4 and compete in a relay that involves running, biking, kayaking (if you’re old enough) and a couple of obstacle courses.
Jackson and his good buddy prepped for this race all month. They bought matching t-shirts and set up their own obstacle course in the backyard, practicing jumping over picnic benches and crawling under deck chairs. Saturday morning the boys were nervous and excited waiting for their age group to start. When it was finally time, the boys took off, determined to try and win, giving it their all.
I was running between each leg of the event hauling water bottles and taking pictures, yelling and cheering like crazy. The boys finished the event and it appeared like they had come in first place for their age group. They were so excited! We were so excited for them! Lots of celebrating all around.
As the awards ceremony started, the boys excitedly moved to the front of the crowd. As their age group was announced Jackson’s team wasn’t called. They didn’t place at all. And I was ‘that’ mom. You know the one. My cheeks are still red when I think about it.
The boys initially were pretty surprised and bummed out but shrugged off their disappointment in record time. We, of course, talked about how the important thing was that they had fun and did their best and that was what was important.
The next morning the paper ran the times and placements of each team and to our surprise, our hunch was right, the boys DID come in first. We’re not sure where the glitch was, but that’s beside the fact. It doesn’t really matter because the lesson for them and even more for ME, is that sometimes things go your way and sometimes they don’t. Mistakes happen, sometimes from your own doing and other times because of an accidental oversight or a miscommunication or who-knows-why; it just happens. And it matters so much more how you respond in those moments. You know I’m talking to myself right? Oh man, I have some work to do in this area.
I’ve been thinking all weekend about the way Jack showed good sportsmanship and an even better attitude. He was already coming up with a new team name for next year and he told us in complete seriousness he didn’t even really want the trophy anyway because you had to give it back the following year.
Motherhood never ceases to surprise me in all the big and little ways it teaches and molds me, sometimes throwing the door wide open on places in myself I need to change and evolve. I want to be more like my kid, able to accept disappointment (no matter how big or little) and still feel proud of myself whether people notice or not.
I don’t think I could stop being a crazed cheerleader-type even if I wanted to. I actually kind of like that part of myself, but surely I can reign it in, especially when things don’t quite go as planned.