Monday, March 30, 2015

I'm Okay With My Son Losing

We just finished up our last weekend of folkstyle state for kid's club.  It's the last one for our family as Daniel will head off to high school next year.  I can't even believe I just typed that!  Daniel did not reach his goal to be on the medal stand but it wasn't for lack of effort!  Saturday was a devastating day.  Daniel went out in his first match and won by pin.  He went to his second match and fought hard pushing the match into overtime and just falling short of the win.  He went out and won his 3rd match and he fought hard in his fourth but again went into overtime and just fell short.  I could have cried...I might have cried, I honestly don't know.  Daniel was devastated. 

I pondered all night and even yesterday and this is what I came to.  I'm okay with my son losing.  I mean as a parent, we need to teach our kids that it's okay to lose.  Losing stinks and it hurts but it can make kids have tremendous growth if you let it.  Daniel made the decision to stay for the rest of the tournament to support his teammates and friends.  I know how I felt watching everyone else, I can't imagine what it was like for him but he was amazing.  He cheered his friends on.  He hung around with other wrestlers from other teams and he turned a hard situation into a fun one.  It wasn't until medals were being awarded that he broke down.  He sat next to me in the stands, put his head in his lap and cried.  There was nothing I could say to make him feel better.  A friend sat next to him and talked to him, hugged him and made him feel better.

As terrible as that was, I am still okay with my son losing and this is why.  Through all of that, Daniel held his head up high.  After his loss that knocked him out of the running for a medal, he stood up, walked to the center of the mat, shook his opponents hand and even hugged him.  Yesterday as I watched the medal rounds, I saw kids and coaches screaming, throwing headgear and having tantrums when things didn't go their way.  I sat in front of a woman who complained to anyone who would listen using vulgar language for over 2 hours about her son's loss.  She even threatened to beat the other kid if he looked at her.  The kid is 7.  When her son sat next to her, she just told him over and over that he was the true winner.

Wrestling isn't always fair, I will say that.  You have one man as a referee who doesn't always see what we see or share the same opinion as we do as to what should be points or what shouldn't be.  It's frustrating.  Guess what?  Life's not fair either.  Sometimes things aren't what we think they should be in wrestling or life.  We need to teach our kids that just because their best efforts don't give us the results we want doesn't mean that they failed.  We need to encourage without taking away from others.  Why must we step on others to bring ourselves up and why are we teaching that to our kids?  Yes, it is frustrating when it seems that someone has an easier journey but we just have to take away that perhaps we have something to learn from our own path.  I was so proud of Daniel's actions on the mat and off the mat.  He was a good friend and good teammate.  I definitely learned from his example over the past couple days.
A smile during a tournament earlier in the season

He didn't step on others to make himself feel better.  If losing made him a better person than I am all for it.  This is but a moment in his life, he will look back at this and use it as motivation for the coming years as he continues his wrestling career.  Even if he never stepped on the mat again, I will forever be grateful for all that he has learned from this sport.


tulipdjc said...

Well said!!!!

USMCWIFE said...

this is a beautiful testament to your son Nadine. I have to say I agree with you. As hard as it is to lose there are so many more thing to learn by losing then winning. Honestly, I think he did win...I think you did too.