The Girl loves to play volleyball. Make no mistake about that.
Last year she tried out and won a spot on the Freshman team. She played hard and loved every minute of it. After the season was over she went to "open gym" and did conditioning exercises in readiness for this year.
The coach asked her to play on a league he was coaching, and she thought she was in like flint for the JV squad come this year.
But things don't always work out the way you think they should.
She got the idea in her head that the coach thought she wasn't playing well. It was all she could think of, and it affected her play in a mighty way. She was hesitant, she was depressed, she felt like an outsider. And so, even though she jumped through all the hoops she didn't play as well as she could. She took on a defeatist attitude.
And that's what did her in. She didn't make the team.
The attitude she had made her not even want to try to attempt any other sport, but the tennis team needed extra players and the tennis coach asked her to try out. Before the season was over she was playing JV.
She'd never played tennis before.
By the end of the season she'd won Most Improved Player, and the coach told us she was a shoe-in for Varsity next year. The only problem was that the tennis and volleyball seasons ran at the same time, so she'd have to make up her mind which one she wanted to play.
Having a heart for volleyball, she decided to try out for a club team in order to get court time and enhance her skills for tryouts next year. So we went to tryouts today. She played her heart out for two hours, hitting, jumping, setting, serving and scrimmaging. There were fifty-two girls trying out for eighteen spots. Chances weren't good to begin with, and she was rusty.
She didn't make either team.
So now she has a choice to make. Settle for her limitations and play great tennis? Work on her own and improve her volleyball skills, to try out again and maybe fail? Quit altogether?
I think we can safely rule out the third option. The Girl is not a quitter. But I have to wonder how many more times she'll take trying and failing on the chance that she might NOT fail. As her mother, I want her to succeed...for herself, not for me. I want her to be able to stand on her own, but at the same time I want to tell her which to choose. Even though I'd be wrong.
But I won't.
Part of growing up is learning to make choices on your own. Learning to either accept your limitations or working to overcome them. Learning how to overcome disappointment, pick yourself up and try again. Those are hard lessons to learn. They're even harder to sit back and watch your child learn, because as a parent you want to protect them from all of that. But if they're protected too much, they'll never grow.
So I'll let her make her own choices and support her along the way. I want her to fly on her own. I want her to grow up, but not away.
And I'll let her know she'll always be the Queen of the Home Court.