• Coming to the realization that your child is not good at sports can be hard for many parents to accept.  I was reminded of that this past Saturday night as I attended my 12 year-old son’s basketball game.  He’s in an after-school league and has been talking about this game for the past three weeks.  He was so excited that he even invited his grandparents and anyone else who was willing to attend.  He practices quite often on his own time, but to me, he never seemed to be a good athlete.  Actually, he ‘s pretty clumsy and isn’t good at most sports but that never stopped him from trying.  How he made the team I’ll never know, but he was so proud of it that I was happy to support him.

    There we were, our whole family plus a few other relatives , in attendance, and I kept waiting for my son to get in the game.  He told me that he wasn’t a starter but I figured he would at least get some play time.  As the game went on, I started  to feel embarrassed.  Not only was he not in the game but he was the only kid on the bench cheering at the top of his lungs and getting up to greet all the players during every time out.  He rushed to bring his teammates water and towels as I sunk in my seat in the hopes that no one would see me or try to make eye contact.  I know that sounds bad but the realization that your child isn’t good is sometimes hard to take.  Not that I was the best athlete but I had competed in sports at the college-level and was relatively coordinated.  It turns out that my kid was the water-boy, towel-boy, bench warmer and cheerleader all in one.  But sports was definitely not his thing. He was the guy jocks would usually laugh about, the one people made movies about and pretty much the butt of most athletic jokes.  Yes, this was my son.  None the less, he was happy in his world.  He was high-fiving everyone, patting players on the back and trying to motivate everyone, including the audience, even when his team was down by 20 points. Imagine that!  They were down by that much and they still didn’t want to put him in. That should give you an idea of how bad he really was.

    Somehow, being at the game that day really opened my eyes.  Watching him jump up and down with a huge smile on his face, I realized that he was happy! But why wasn’t I?  I realized that it was my ego and expectations that were the problem. If he’s happy then that’s all that should matter.  It’s sad because I hate when people tell me what they think I need and what would make me happy in my life.  Things like a new car, a new phone, a new TV, etc.  If I’m happy with what I have then who cares?  I know what I like and perhaps I choose to be “old school” because that’s what makes me happy.  Maybe I prefer to ride my bike, not be bothered with a phone and am happy with a small TV?  Only when someone tries to point out what you’re missing and inserts their opinion about what you should have or do, do you feel like maybe you’re missing something.  So, our goals and expectations of how things should be are exactly that.  Ours! Not anyone else’s.  There’s no reason to inflict them on others simply because that may not be what they want.  Not only was I proud of him as he is, but I learned to appreciate his role, his efforts and what he contributes to his team.  If he’s happy with what he’s doing, then my job is to support and encourage him.  Everyone has a role and his tenacity in pursuing happiness is my new guide in measuring success!