Nothing Like Your Kid Reminding You That A “Failure” Isn’t the End of the World

I’m probably not the only one who wonders if there’s a break in the sporting seasons. Hockey season has just started, but I’m not sure when the other season ended.

For a few of my boys, they took the summer off. Then there was the one, who hasn’t been off the ice more than a week in two years. He had power skating lessons. He had hockey camp. And of course,  he would want to go open skate with his friends.

He truly was an inspiration. He had some lofty goals. I found myself envious of his dedication. And when it came time for tryouts, I was envious of his go get ’em attitude.

High school junior varsity tryouts came first.  This peanut is just that, a peanut. At 14 years old he can’t even break 100 pounds soaking wet. That doesn’t stop him trying to outdo 16 and 17-year-olds. He showed up to those high school tryouts, got cut, and was still ecstatic that he tried.

Next  up, Bantam AA  tryouts. Though he understood getting cut from high school  try outs,  this one might have stung just the littlest bit, but only for one moment. There were more tryouts to be had, and he certainly was going after them. Not one moment was lost mourning these two tryouts.

Finally, we were at  Bantam A/B tryouts. He had played Bantam B last year, so she was sure this was the end of the line. But, when he didn’t make the A team, his father and I felt as though we had been stabbed in the heart. It’s funny, how we as parents, take everything 100 times harder than the kid. We knew he had tried his hardest. We knew he had done everything he could to better himself. So why not  our kid?

I probably checked on him that night a million times. Kept asking him if he was okay. He had to be devastated. As it turns out, only his father and I were devastated.

I knew that somewhere there was a silver lining. But when was I going to find that? I kept thinking that Walt Disney got fired from the newspaper, because they said he had no talent with his drawings. Michael Jordan was cut  from his high school basketball team. This kid was going to make something of himself. Could I convince him of that?

The interesting part about this journey was, he wasn’t discouraged. I was doing that to myself. Do you know what he cared about? He got to play hockey. Not only did he get to play hockey, he got to play a lot of hockey. He’d been playing all summer with high schoolers–the big guys. He held his own with those AA’s and A’s. And he was going to set out to be the best Bantam B player ever.

As parents we get so caught up in wanting everything perfect for our kids, we forget to take lessons upon ourselves. Though tryout weeks are my least favorite times of the year, I’m reminded each year of my children’s resilience. Nothing will tear them down.  They truly understand the meaning behind shake it off and go on.

The next morning his father and I mutually realized the silver lining. The team he had landed on was filled with amazing families we had played with for years. And just like every year, once the teams were in place, unrealized attempts through tryouts were forgotten.New goal statistics were started. New travel adventures booked. And I, the mother who thinks everyone needs to fail to grow, grew a little bit when I watched my 14 year old son move on to the next thing unscarred by normal events. Not every kid will go on to the NHL, and that’s okay. Not every kid will make the highest team, and that’s okay too. What matters is they can say I did my best, on to the next, and they move on to the next. We so often trip over our own ambitions, we forget that we caused ourselves to fall. I love that he reminds me every year that you can keep on going even if you don’t get what you were hoping for. It doesn’t mean you give up. You keep pursuing and training. Thanks for the lesson kid. I’m sure that by next year, I’ll need the same reminder, and I know that you’ll be pushing through it to give it to me.

What lessons do your kids teach you?

THOB Bernadette Marie January


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