Did you know that Michael Jordan was cut from the basketball team in 8th grade? At least that's what I kept hearing when I was cut from the basketball team in 8th grade.
And seventh grade.
Okay, let me start from the beginning.
I was a tall teenager. I was the same height I am now in 7th and 8th grade. It was also around the time the WNBA was just getting started, so I had high high hopes of becoming a basketball star. Then I was cut after try-outs for the 7th grade Star Valley Junior High team. I signed up for an expensive summer basketball camp and walked down to the neighbor's hoop to practice each day. I was determined to be a basketball star. Then I got cut again in 8th grade. I was deflated. I never picked up a basketball again.
Until today when I went to an open gym play time thing with Graham here on the base. We were the only ones there, so I dared to grab a basketball and shoot some hoop. I was making shots left and right and even started doing some lay-ups and jump shots and made some of those, too! Then I remembered that I was cut from the team in 8th grade and put the ball down.
Graham, on the other hand, was having a great time playing with an assortment of balls, jump ropes, and jumping mats. Then he fell and bit his top lip. Hard. Really, really, hard. He was shaking and crying as I rushed to get some paper towels to soak up the blood. He sat in my lap for ten minutes and just sort of moped. He was completely and utterly deflated. I'd never seen him like this, so the wanna be counselor (that's what I call myself these days since I can't seem to find a job here) in me started to worry. What if he never wants to play in the gym again? What if he thinks he is bad at sports? How do I help him process his feelings healthily so that he can move on and not be like me and still be complaining about this in 20 years?
I didn't know whether to tell him to suck it up and get back in the game- which is harsh and against my nature-or to hold him and let him cry and get him a popsicle and tell him he never had to touch a ball again if he didn't want to-which is also against my nature because I struggle with emotional eating and don't want to teach those habits to my kid. I deliberated over these options as he sucked on the paper towel and I chose, as usual, to take the middle path. I asked him if he wanted to kick the soccer ball and then go get lunch. He kicked the ball for a couple of minutes, but he really wanted to leave. So, we left with the agreement that he would try again next time.
Then I went to the minimart and did what any good mother would do. I got myself some chocolate.
Unfortunately, some of us cannot be like Mike.
Thank you for listening.
Until next time...