Sunday, September 12, 2010

The "B" Team

(I really hesitated in posting this because I'm concerned that the message would be misinterpreted....I really want the emphasis to be on the last paragraph, because it just proves how there are always going to be things in life that will tear us down - no matter how great life seems to be going. As well as that age-old struggle in how hard it is to be a parent, especially when you can relate to your kids' struggles so well - and wish somehow you could prevent them, even though you know, it's all part of the big life lessons we all need to grow up)

From the time I began playing sports in middle school, I got really used to the expression: "The B Team". It's where my name (and Michele's) got put (with the exception of our junior year in volleyball - in which she went further than me -way to go Michele!).

I excelled in the "B" Team. Often there was a "C" team, and not only could I be proud that I was "better than that" - I could also believe that I was one of the best on "my team". In high school softball that "B" Team was playing JV as a Junior (vs. being on varsity). In the same way, that year, I was one of the best on the team. I was captain, I had confidence - and in almost all of these situations, I had FUN. I excelled where I was at. And, I believe, because I was proud of myself, I encouraged others - and therefore, often tied with Michele for most inspirational.

But, I have to say, I always would have wished to have been picked to be on the "A" team. Bummer that I had to be part of the class of '90 that had to be super-heavy on the athletically gifted realm - because, in a different group I might have made it. I know that I never would have had as much fun, and based on the horrific feelings of inadequacy and physical misery I felt upon making the varsity softball team as a senior, it would have probably never led me to feel good about myself if I had made those teams. But, it's what I wanted. I wanted to be "chosen", to feel "accepted" - and "prized". It doesn't matter that volleyball, basketball, and softball are three VERY NARROW ways to determine a person's self-worth, never being "good enough" in those sports really has left a mark on me.

And, I'm realizing that just now as I watch my kiddos deal with the same sort of stuff. Let's face it, I didn't reach my full height of 5'6 until I was a senior in high school. I was probably about 4 years behind the "average" of physical maturing....which meant I was a very little kid, with not a ton of coordination. But, I sure TRIED. I tried super-hard. If effort and attitude could make a child sports-talented, I think I might have made varsity as a freshman. But, it didn't. And, it still doesn't.

Today, I watched Brayden do "his job" during the three "mini-games" of the football jamboree. He was thrown into the "B Group Offense" (sound familiar?) as wide receiver, and out of about 18 plays, touched the ball once. That run wasn't too successful, so it makes me doubt if we'll see action again this season. Do I sound like "Debbie Downer"? I hope not. I want to believe that great things will happen, and the lightest kid on the team will somehow become the star. But, I'm pretty much a realist. Despite all this I'm SO proud of him, just as my parents were so proud of me. (And, yes, I'm proud to say "that's my boy" when, upon being tackled for negative yardage, his first words to the opponent who tackled him were: "nice hit" - and he said it genuinely.)

While at the football jamboree, I accessed my email and found that the 20 girls going out for soccer were divided into two teams. Mikayla isn't with her best friend, and just happens to be with the three girls new to the game of soccer. I know that the coach who divided the teams tried very hard to make everyone happy. But, part of the driving forces were not wanting to divide bf's, and somehow, I feel like Mikayla got left out. Now, on the flip side - her coach was recruited by me (last year's coach wasn't able to do it this year and they were desperate for another)....and is one of my dear college friends, Laurel. (You can see pics of her and her wedding if you go back to my July 3rd post). Will Mikayla have a blast with Laurel? ABSOLUTELY! Does she already feel like she "didn't make the stronger team", though? Yes. Sigh......and here we go again.

Brayden left the jamboree with his head down. I kept asking him if he was okay and he said he was. He felt like the team played well and the coach was fair and the day was "good". But, he still hung his head. I knew what he was thinking....I remember all too well. Even Mikayla made the comment, "this just might not be the best year" when she saw the team names listed. But, once again, she'd rather have it this way and be with Laurel, than thank God for Laurel.

I don't think it's a coincidence that the Bible Study I will be beginning in a week is "Six Secrets of the Confident Woman" - which will teach us what God would want us to base our confidence and self worth on vs. what the world tells us. I think I need a refresher course on all of that. Because, right now, the world is reminding me of all of those old feelings of inadequacy....


sara said...

I can so relate to this post. I am praying for you, friend.

StephieAnne said...

Thanks Sara - those are the perfect words of encouragement to me right now!

Anonymous said...

My very best year of volleyball was my junior year, playing JV for the second time, but this time as a captain. I remember the coaches telling me they were leaving me at JV so build my confidence, and although I was disappointed, it was the best thing in the world for me. I had so much fun that year! When I moved up to Varsity my senior year it was a slap in the face to feel so much like an outsider, to struggle at times on the court, and to even have people (ahem - Jaime) who actively disliked me off the court. And for years and years after high school there were the dreams of being at practice with a volatile coach....I guess my experiences mirror some of yours, Steph. I think sports are such a character builder and your kids will benefit a lifetime from the lessons on the field and off, with your guidance. But I had enough bad coaches who gave bad advice and encouraged questionable behaviors, I think as always that Mom and Dad should remain the most important influence!

Your Bible study sounds interesting. Confidence has never been my thing. haha. :) I'm trying to really believe who I am IN CHRIST but it's so hard!