It’s back-to-school season around here. Lots of kids are trying out for sports.
Living where I do — and hanging out with busy moms — I get to hear about tryouts, overburdened volunteer coaches, and the needless ordeal that accompanies youth sports.
Sounds like a hassle. Especially when kids are rejected from the team.
I get it. This is a new era. Not everyone gets a trophy. I like the ruthlessness of performance-based selection methodologies, and I’m the first person to say that lazy bastards should suffer.
(Especially when those bastards are 11 and just want to play soccer!)
I wonder — what do you tell an 11-year-old who just wants to get a little exercise and hangout with her friends? A colleague of mine is dealing with that issue, right now. The tweenage kid didn’t make a private cheer squad through a local gym or something like that. (Those things exist. It’s like Pop Warner for elite kids on steroids.)
She asked her daughter questions like, “Are you proud? Did you do your best? You did? Okay, let’s move on.”
(Let me deviate for a second and say that this new era of parenting is confusing to me because I was raised in front of the television. I’m not complaining. I preferred it that way, and I didn’t kick a soccer ball until I was a high school sophomore. How does a fifth or sixth grader know if she’s done her best? Maybe your kid is intuitive. I was not.)
But I do like asking people — especially adults — if they are proud. There are no wrong answers, but I think the question itself allows for a bigger discussion about life.
– Do you like your job?
– Are you proud of what you do?
– If not, why not?
– Are you happy in your current relationships?
– Are you proud of what you offer to your spouse and friends?
– Do you try your hardest to be a decent person?
– Even when you fail, are you proud of your effort?
The good thing about being an adult is that you don’t have to wait for high school hockey season to ask yourself those questions.
Are you proud of your life?