I was so distracted last week that I went about my entire morning wearing my shirt inside out! I ran all my errands around my hometown of Flower Mound, Texas like this, and didn’t notice until I sat down for my weekly women in business book club lunch. I’m not sure if any of these sweet ladies even noticed, but if they did, they were all too nice to comment on it. When I did finally notice, I laughed to myself about it, and surprisingly did not feel at all embarrassed. Why? Because it was so representative of the worried and distracted space that I had been living in all morning. That worried and distracted space had to do with my daughter.
See, we’ve been eating, sleeping and dreaming basketball for months on end at our house, the sport our daughter absolutely loves. But, also knowing how competitive middle school sports are here in Flower Mound, Texas and that there would be an intense tryout in the fall, we wanted her to do everything possible to make the school team. So, we had her on a team outside of school with weekly practices and games, as well as extra basketball technique classes. She’s also one of those kids who is internally motivated, and when she puts her mind to accomplishing something, she can usually make it happen.
But, not this time.
She found out on Halloween that she had been cut from her school team, and I’m not sure why they chose a kid holiday to tell a teen that has played basketball since age eight that she wasn’t quite good enough this year.
The morning I was so distracted was a result of her meeting with her coach to find out why she was cut from the team. Why the nerves on my part? Because we all have activities we love in our lives, and I didn’t want her passion for playing basketball to be taken away at age 13. And yes, at this point, she had heard the Michael Jordan story about being cut from his school’s varsity team as a freshman one too many times (https://www.newsweek.com/missing-cut-382954), and how it was a source of motivation for him when he saw the basketball lockers without his name on one.
Thankfully, her coach gave her some constructive criticism (she needs to play more aggressively under the basket in his opinion), while keeping her basketball team hope intact for the future (if she continues to practice outside of school, with her height and skills, she still has a shot at making the high school team). After that conversation, it was up to her to make the choice to continue with the sport she loves, quit playing all together and focus her time and energy elsewhere or stay with the hurt, angry feelings and not make any decisions at all (which, as we all know, usually means the decisions usually get made for you).
What happened? I’m happy to report that not making the team lit a fire in her to do better, play better, and be better than she was before all this occurred. In her basketball league outside of school, during her weekend game, she played the best, most aggressive game of her life, scoring more points than ever before, rebounding the ball more than ever before, and passing the ball to teammates better than ever before. All in all, it was a great game, after a great (yet hard) life lesson learned.
Have you experienced anything like this in your own life? How did it turn out for you? What did you learn from the experience? What did you learn about yourself?
I’ve definitely had many experiences like this in my lifetime. I was a swimmer growing up, and spent a huge part of my childhood, starting at age seven, in the water either at swim practices or weekly weekend swim meets (my poor parents and brother, I know!). At one meet my coach was having trouble deciding who would be in the relay at the end of the meet (an event I loved!) and said he’d take the top four 50-meter freestyle times. When I got assigned to my swimming heat, I realized that a minute had been added to my personal best time (a huge amount in a sprint event). So, I was in the first heat, the slowest heat and the beginners heat. I was beyond mad, especially when I tried to get the mistake fixed, and no one believed me. So, it meant during the event that I needed to have self-motivation over being motivated to swim faster because of all the fast swimmers in the lanes around me. I can still remember that swim to this day, all these years later, because I was determined to beat every swimmer, in every heat, and earn my relay spot. I made that happen, all on my own!
Sometimes, having that fire lit in you to prove to others that you’re better than they think you are, makes all the difference!
I know I’ve been focused on sports here, but this concept of trying your very best and not having things work out the way you hoped can be applied to so many aspects of your life, from school to work to marriage to friendships to parenting, and so many places in between. We can choose to give up when things don’t work out, or we can look at these “failures” as turning points that truly get us to where we want and need to be in life.