It started out rough, but it ended well, that day on the field. In fact, it called to mind a moment from Inside Out.
If you’ve seen the movie, you know there was a pivotal moment that formed one of the main character, Riley’s, core memories. It was the memory of her hockey team gathered around her cheering. What we learned later in the movie is that the moment happened because there were coming to cheer her up after a loss that crushed her. Here’s how it happened for us:
Our daughter’s soccer team played in the first of a series of three weekend tournaments a week ago. In order to progress to the next weekend, her team had to win their group of 4. I wrote the details of their weekend in my previous post. Suffice to say, they didn’t win.
My sweet girl met me after the game and promptly burst into tears. As I hugged her, she cried about how she had played poorly (not true) and how this meant they were out. I tried to remind her that everyone makes mistakes, it was a team effort, they played well, but she was, in a word, inconsolable.
Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed that both her coaches had stopped and turned back, as had her teammates. Soon, one of her coaches stepped in to take her from me. He pulled her in for a hug and talked quietly to her for the next few minutes, telling her, “It’s good that you are sad. It means you love it, it’s important to you. That makes you play hard.” When he was done, her team gathered around her for a huge group hug.
Meanwhile, one of the girls who plays goalie on her high school team happened to be watching the game because she’d played earlier. When I told her Megan was disappointed with how she’d played, she asked if it would be ok if she talked to her for a minute. After her team dispersed, Sarah stepped in and encouraged Megan as well.
Watching it all, I was so grateful for the loss.
Sure, it was painful to watch her be sad. We were all disappointed – they’re a good team and could have continued. But in the world of youth sports where there is often so much criticism and pressure on kids, to see our daughter loved so well by her coaches and teammates, was a rare gift.
Sometimes the best memories are formed when someone loves us well in a hard place. I’m so thankful our daughter has one of those because of this team.