Tag Archives: Competition

Wanna Watch Me Chat?

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Image courtesy of Gigi Ross aka @KludgyMom!

Today, I participated in a Google+ Hangout with several other mommy bloggers where we discussed how we help our kids follow their bliss while managing a sane schedule for ourselves.

Gigi Ross of KludgyMom was our moderator.

If you spend eleventy-twenty skillion hours shlepping your kids around, or if you struggle with other issues around managing your children’s extracurricular activities, you’ll want to listen to the conversation.

We broadcasted live at 1 pm EST/10 am PST.

But you can watch it here:

How do YOU balance extracurricular activities in your house? Which is more important: school or extracurricular activities? How do you teach your kids to enjoy the thrill of victory but press on despite the agony of defeat? How do you gauge the right activity level for your kids? And seriously, how do you get everyone everywhere and still make dinner? 

tweet me @rasjacobson

NOTE: If you haven’t entered to win a 9-pack sampler of GoGoSqueeZ, there’s still time. Click HERE for details!

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Lessons From Losing

As a self-admitted, ridiculously competitive parent who wants her child to know how good it can feel to work hard and win, it is my duty to report that my son competed in a fencing competition last weekend. On the strip, he fenced his butt off and did not lose a single match. As parents, my husband and I were internally beyond psyched, but externally we tried to contain ourselves.

After two hours, Monkey came over to the area where we were standing and said, “Explain how I have won every bout but I am now ranked #7?” Husband and I looked at each other and said (practically in unison), “Don’t ask us! Ask the guy with the clipboard.” So Monkey did. He marched right up to his coach who is like nine feet tall and tattooed and has a goatee and sometimes yells at kids or bonks them on their helmets for not paying attention. (It should be said, this treatment is always deserved. Elliott is an amazing coach, but he can be intimidating.)

Several adults were standing in a small cluster when Monkey barged in. From my vantage point (wedged against husband and the cola machine), I could see Monkey say something and point at the clipboard. Then I saw everyone look at the clipboard. And then I saw four horrified adult faces. I watched people erasing and nodding. Eventually, words were exchanged and Monkey came back over to us.

Apparently, an error had been made. One of the refs accidentally wrote down the wrong last name in the brackets and so Monkey’s competitor, the kid he had beaten, moved ahead of him.

When the error was brought to his attention, my son was composed. He stayed for the remainder of the competition and watched other fencers compete. He even congratulated the winners afterward.

Later in the car, Monkey was mad. It’s the first time I’d ever seen anything close to a kind of fire in my son. He said he was frustrated – really frustrated. That he had wanted to go as far as he could, and he was mad to have been prematurely stopped in his tracks. He did not have a hissy fit or cry. He understood an error had been made. He knew it was not intentional. He knew that by the time the error had been caught, it was too late, as fencers were already fencing in the semi-finals. He just kind of wished he had known about the mistake earlier.

So there were lots of lessons that day. Lessons we take through life. Monkey kept his head about him and kept his cool, despite the fact that he got a bum rap. He understood his disappointment wasn’t so much about the losing so much as it was losing the opportunity to do his best. That was the frustrating thing for him. (And I’m guessing next time, he’ll be the kid hovering around whomever is holding the clipboard.)

There were lessons for this trophy-seeking momma, too. I have to admit, my first instinct was to feel anger. I felt Monkey had been gypped. Privately, I wanted the coaches to go all the way back in the seeding to where the error was made and start over. I didn’t care if it meant another grueling two hours for the fencers; I wanted justice! I was surprised by how quickly my inner Tiger Momma wanted to pounce: claws bared, teeth clenched. I wanted apologies and a free year of private lessons. I wanted someone to publicly acknowledge my child’s amazing composure. For the love of Pete, I wanted to scream, Someone mention that you guys screwed up and my kid did not really come in 7th place!

Of course, I didn’t.

I squished these urges down, but it wasn’t easy. But I took my cue from Monkey, and I rode the tide. And just so we’re all clear, I’m not a great tide-rider. But on that day, I had to be. We all did. Because sometimes life really does just happen and — even if you have a sword — sometimes you just have to put it away and prepare to battle another day.

Please Don’t Give My Kid a Trophy

Little League was in full swing over Memorial Day weekend, and my son had two games. On Saturday, I watched my boy get up there to bat three times … only to strike out on three separate occasions. It was painful. I could make all kinds of excuses: The 14-year old umpire made a bunch of bad calls; the sun was in my child’s eyes; he was really tired after a late night get-together the night before. I could make excuses, but what is the point?

The reality is my kid is not a ‘ball boy.” He never has been.

My kid is cerebral. At 3-years old, he could easily build elaborate structures out of LEGO’s by following the often complicated instruction guides. These days, he has graduated to K’Nex and creates working shredders, beverage dispensers, even guns with working mechanisms. Granted, these devices shoot rubber bands or other K’Nex pieces, but still they are incredibly complicated little inventions. And the world needs engineers, right? That’s why they make pocket protectors.

So why am I all bent out of shape over his poor performance on the field?

"Little League Baseball" from metzgarpaul at flickr.com

I think it is because I am an athletic person, and sports have always come easily to me. I guess I’d hoped that by now – his 5th year in the League – he’d be more assertive in the sport and that those skills would transfer to his real life. I imagined he’d regularly hear his teammates praise him for catching a pop-fly or hitting a double or (dare I dream) a triple. I could hear them screaming his name as he slid into home, and as he stood up – his white pants brown and dusty – his teammates would smack him on the back and tell him of his awesomeness.

Bottom line: the fantasy didn’t happen. My child’s team got clobbered two days in a row, and he didn’t help much.

A friend of my husband’s recently commented, “The geeks rule the world,” and I guess I believe it to be true. I know everyone struggles somewhere and that adversity builds character; luckily, my child doesn’t define himself as a baseball player so his self-esteem is intact. Nevertheless, I think about these things as my son prepares to enter middle school. Perhaps I remember it all too well – the social hierarchy, and I know that no matter how cool computers have become in the last decade, sports are still important, and it is still easier to be a jock.

I hope they don’t give him some kind of trophy for “showing up” at this level of play. Frankly, he has more self-respect than to accept a bogus trophy for “participation.”