I am not always a good sport.
I grew up in the South where college football reigns supreme. Your team’s colors adorned your onsies, your bibs, and you probably wore the favored team’s cheerleader outfit or football jersey before you could even sit up. When your team wins, you are ecstatic and so proud, and feel like you were on the field yourself with all of the cheering, fight-song singing, and yelling you have done throughout the game, and of course, while wearing your team’s colors. When your team does not come out on top, you are still so proud of your team, although deeply disappointed, and still feel like you were out on the field with the cheering, the feverishly hoping, and the draining disappointment that has descended upon you, in your team’s colors. I am not always gracious to the opposing team, but do have respect for a well-played football game.
On game days, I am filled with anticipation of the big game (each and every game is a big game), and my children and I are dressed in my team’s colors – blue and orange. All three of my children have grown accustomed to my cheering… or screaming… during the games. My youngest will happily chant, “go Auburn”, even when she catches a glimpse of hockey on the television… during the Winter Olympics, many a time I had to explain that this was not Auburn football, or even Viking football — I have added a NFL team to my list.
I want my children to be good winners, and good losers. I want them to experience the exhilaration of winning a hard fought game, and yes, even the agony of defeat (although not too many times). I want them to sincerely congratulate the other team’s players when on the losing side, and I want them to be proud of their successes, but not boastful. Although I cannot offer too much in athletic advice, I do want them to focus and practice at a sport that they enjoy. I want them to have team spirit, and I want them to put forth their best effort, and I genuinely want them to have a great time while playing the sport.
As my children grow and become more involved in organized sports, and compete to win, I realize I need to lead by example, and keep my team spirit in check. I need to watch how I respond to the end result, how I behave so that my children understand that while important, winning isn’t everything, and losing will not be the end of the world. I will support them and cheer for them, but I also need to make sure when they are defeated, which they will be, I need to honor their efforts and give no blame, but just hug them and let them know I am always in their corner.
Not to worry though, Auburn baby attire is safely put away for my grandchildren…