Menifee Mom: Remember the Good You See in Your Kids

By Karen Thomas

Watching someone else evaluate your kid is an interesting experience. As parents, we naturally want to defend our kid and stand up for them when someone else may be putting them down. But when your kid is trying out for a soccer team, all you can do is stand there and watch it happen.

This past week, two of my girls decided to try out for a team with AYSO. Many of their friends have chosen to join club teams, but frankly I much prefer the cost and convenience of a Menifee AYSO team! So, really, this is their one shot at joining a competitive team each year.

I've actually already had two girls on these competitive teams for the past two years, so the tryout routine isn't new to our family.

I have to say, though, that with my younger daughter joining the ranks, the experience has been different. My other girls were a bit older for their first evaluation and, having not had anyone else in the family play on the team, they felt less pressure. This younger daughter has been watching her sisters play competitive soccer for two years and she has entered this wanting to make the team very badly.

So this week it was her turn to try out.

The first day of tryouts, I could feel a bit of the tension in the air. My daughter played well from the start, but I could sense she was nervous. The fire wasn't there yet. I kept thinking, "Come on girl ... show them what you've got!" But soon, parents started asking who that short-haired blonde girl was, because, "She's good!" I proudly answered, "That's my daughter!"

It wasn't long before I saw the fire lit under her and she really brought her game. But you know they've been evaluating from the start and you wonder if it's enough.

Every time she did something good, I would look to the evaluators and wonder, "Did they see that?" You know they are looking for so many details and at so many kids. You just don't know how they see your kid in the mix of all that!

It is very hard to stand by and know that this is their shot. They may have a bad day because of the mix of kids they had to scrimmage with or because they let nerves get the best of them. (Especially when they want it so badly.) You just want to send a subliminal message to the evaluators and say, "My kid is awesome ... if only you could come watch her in a game ... or talk to her coach ... you would see what a star she is!" or "Do you know how much this girl wants this?"

However, that's just not how it works. You've got to work with the system in place and hope that your child shines at all the right moments.

I think parents feel that way a lot with their kids, whether it's in sports or school or just in life. We see all these amazing things about them, but sometimes worry if their teachers or their peers are seeing it, too. We worry if they are being judged unfairly in a situation or if others are given an unfair advantage due to different circumstances.

In the end, all we can do is the best we can, given the hand we're dealt. If the outcome isn't what we want, like we don't make the soccer team, then we dust ourselves off and keep trying. You only lose if you quit trying.

Most of all, always let your kids hear from YOU the good you see in them, because they may not hear it anywhere else.

Karen Thomas is a stay at home mom of four daughters, has been on the PTA board at her kids' school for four years, and is a volunteer at her church, in addition to her activities as a volunteer soccer referee, a piano teacher, and a runner. Her column will appear here every Thursday. Comments are welcome.


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