The flag football season for my 8-year old son recently ended. It was an emotional roller coaster. With a first round play-off loss and an 0-9 regular season, it was hard. Especially for this competitive mom. I know youth sports are not about wins and losses, especially for second and third graders, but it really bothers me not to win a single game! They worked so hard. You could see the frustration during the game. We watched many sour faces and tears throughout the season (and tried to hold back a few of my own).
The good news is that once the game was over, the boys got their snacks and ran around the skateboard park, and the losses were quickly forgotten. One game was a particularly bad and for whatever reason, snacks weren’t brought. It was, and I quote my son, “The worst game ever.” Emotional eating habits and poor nutritional choices aside, Oreo cookies and a juice box really allowed him to recuperate from a tough loss. By the time we hit the car to go home, all was right with the world and we were able to focus on the positive aspects of the game play.
It’s okay to lose.
As a parent, I want what’s best for my kid. What I sometimes forget is that winning is not always what’s best. Charlie was so worried about winning and losing during the first several games that he had performance anxiety—even during the scrimmages, asking the coach not to give him the ball. He was so afraid of being the reason the team lost, he’d rather not play at all. Not winning actually gave him the confidence to be in the game. As time went on, the team played hard and had several great games, one that went into triple overtime! Charlie had several touchdowns, one great catch, several good runs up the field and key defensive plays throughout the season. They could lose and it would be okay. He could still have fun, and the boys would still be his friends.
Seeing the smile on his face when I ask him about playing again, I know I can make it through another season.
As long as we get out there and do our best and have fun doing so, we win.
My son wins.