Editor’s note: Today’s guest post is by Shelley Oz and we are in love with her point of view. If you’ve got kids in sports, this one is for you! 

This weekend was chock full of highs and lows and no, I’m not talking about my mistake in skipping coffee on Sunday morning. Mini-me was in both a swim meet and a kick-start competition so it was kinda all about him (except when it was all about me of course.  Let’s not get crazy) while the giant cheered and supported like the world’s best big brother.  (Seriously love this kid so much). Plus, for his morning run in the cold cold air, he can layer like a boss.

As I watched Mini-me compete in team forms, I saw my inner dancer peak through the all-boy version of me.  He had a rhythm and balance that I know came from my side of the gene pool and beamed with pride after he was done.  As he should – his team took home a medal for their performance.

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Then came sparring… and I get that they are all padded up and this is a controlled environment and blah blah blah… but I was extremely uncomfortable as I watched MY BABY step into “battle.”

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Each bout lasts two minutes or until one opponent has enough points to make it impossible for the other opponent to catch up… we didn’t make it the two minutes.  There may have been a tear or two.  {Not from me}

As his dad felt compelled to coach from the sidelines, I had to reign in mama-bear… FYI – screaming all the things your kid is doing wrong while they are doing them wrong is less constructive than you might think.

Another note on all the sideline coaches I encountered this weekend… You have chosen to enroll your kid in an activity that comes with a coach.  Trust that your coach knows what they are doing and let them coach.  Your role here is as taxi driver, cheerleader, shoulder to cry on, and financial backer.  Period.  {stepping off my soapbox}

Here’s the thing… this was the first endeavor at sparring for mini-me.  Maybe he’ll try again… maybe he won’t.  That will be his choice.  But I’m SUPREMELY proud of the kid who normally shies away from anything he won’t do perfectly {not sure where he got THAT trait… oh wait…} who took a risk and tried something new simply because it looked like it would be fun.

In the next day’s swim meet, mini-me saw more success.  Dropped times on all of the events he swam and even finished first in his heat for his 50y backstroke.

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My kids aren’t the fastest… out of hundreds of swimmers out there in these huge ass meets, my kids are typically middle of the pack.  I’m perfectly ok with that.  The only times we focus on are the improvements.  A competition more with yourself than with the rest of the swimmers.

Over the weekend, I also had dinner with two different friends and in both cases, the convo eventually turned to “sports parents.”  I guess that’s what happens when kid-events consume your world…

I have a problem with this whole “Everyone gets a medal” world we live in.  Why?  Because in life everyone does NOT get a fucking medal!  There are winners and losers out here people and if we aren’t teaching our kids that now, in a safe environment designed for that, where are they learning it?  I sure as heck don’t want to be the one to teach it.

Not Every Kid Gets A Medal

The value of kids in sports beyond the medal. @momma_oz has great advice! Click To Tweet

Here’s my views on competition for what it’s worth…

  1.  Everyone does not get a medal.  Yes, I know I already said that.  I’m saying it again.  Don’t like losing?  Cool – work harder because in life nothing is going to be handed to you.  Period.
  2. Parents – either volunteer to coach your kids or STFU and let the coach do their job.  Shouting instructions from the sidelines does not help your kid in the middle of whatever they are trying to do.
  3. At the end of the event – Ask your kid how they felt about their performance, event, game, whatever.  Chances are good that they already know the mistakes they made and don’t need you to point them out.  Andplusalso?  Isn’t this about them?  If they think they did awesome, don’t be a bubble buster…
  4.  Cheer.  Cheer loudly.  Cheer obnoxiously.  Cheer until you lose your voice and there’s not an ounce of doubt how proud you are of your kid.   Whenever possible, enlist the assistance of friends and family to cheer alongside you.  Your kid may have doubts about a lot of things over the course of their life but your pride and adoration should never be one of them.
  5. When they lose, come in last, fail to perform the way they wanted, console and remind them of the things they did right.  Remind them that sometimes we have to fail before we know what to improve.  Remind them that to be good at anything, you have to work hard.

Did my kid come in first in everything he did this weekend?  Nope.  Am I still super fantastically proud of him?  You better believe it.  Because sometimes doing your best and improving your skills means more than first place.

Mini-me (1)

Shelley_Headshot_resized-680x1024 Shelley is a freelance writer, blogger, coffee-addict and mom. When she’s not performing her duties as taxi driver and swim-mom cheerleader, she fills her evenings with kitchen experiments, Netflix binging and crochet projects. You can usually find her on FacebookPinterest, or over at her personal blog, Slightly off Kilter, where she over-shares about relationships, raising gentlemen, and trying to find herself in the process.

Photo credit: (c) Shelley Oz and (c) Depositphotos/ RobHainer

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