My son is 7yrs old and is one of the best humans ever. He is smart. He is funny. He makes friends easily and he enjoys playing soccer. In the fall season his soccer team had 15 players that regularly showed up. He would not usually start the game, but would sub in and play about half of the time. They had a winning record. He learned many basic skills and enjoyed practice.
Spring season rolled around and he asked to play again. At the first practice there were about 7 boys. At the first game there were 6. His second game came along and they had to forfeit because only 5 players showed up. The other team had 14 so they shared a few players and they enjoyed a scrimmage. This spring season has been tough to watch. A few games were lost by 7 goals. My son played goalie a few of those times. Baseball and Lacrosse are more popular in our town this season and that is ok. My son’s team has lost every game, and that is also ok. Learning to lose gracefully will help him. I keep my son in soccer for him to learn.
My hope is my son learns to be a good loser. That he learns to love his body and wants to keep it healthy. My hope is my children understand different sports and learn to follow rules. That they figure out strategy and teamwork. What I want my son to learn is not how to win. I don’t care if he ever wins. I realized long ago my kids probably won’t be olympic athletes. My kids won’t be movie stars. My kids are pretty average and that is ok because most people won’t win a gold medal or an oscar award. But most people will be employed someday. Most people will be married and have children.
My son is technically a loser but he never shies away from attending his games or practices. After practice I ask what he learned and if he enjoyed it. After each loss my only question is “Did you play your best?” As long as he can honestly answer yes I’m happy. I’m the mom who thinks kids younger than high school should receive a participation award. It is hard work to win, but it is hard to show up when you know you’re likely to lose. Most will lose and that is ok when you’re 7. Let’s teach our kids that losing isn’t the end. Cheer for the kid who scored a goal even if it was your son that missed the save. It might be that kids’ first goal ever. Congratulate the other team on their hussle. And thank the coach and refs. Let’s teach our kids what sports are really about.
My son is amazing and works hard. My son loves to play soccer. My son feels disappointed when the other team scores, but my son plays his best and that is a win enough for me.