The Thrill of Victory and the Agony of Defeat.

It’s been brutal in my house lately.  My usually calm daughter has been totally stressed out.  I’d like to say it’s because she can’t figure out what to wear to homecoming (she doesn’t even want to go!).  Or, that her brothers have stepped up their incessant teasing of her (they have!).  No, it’s been her competing for the last seat on a varsity boat going to the Head of the Charles.

Let me back up here.  My little darling started this rowing-sport 10 months ago.  I still don’t have one-half an idea about her rowing lingo regarding splits, steady state and the like.  I just buy the warm clothes, give her the good protein powder and send her off.  So, when she said there was one seat left and she was going to compete for it, I figured this would be a good exercise in learning the agony of defeat.

Every day for the last 6 weeks she’s been stressed out.  She goes to practice, works hard, but no decision.  Every day I pray to the teenage g-ds to do something — just a simple yes or no, is all I’m looking.  We want our girl/sister back.

Then, Tuesday she comes home and says – the last race will be on Wednesday and at that point, they’ll decide.   On the day of,  I send her a text telling her to “kick ass” and then “be done worrying.”

When she’s heading home from the lake, she calls me.  I ask about practice and she says she’ll tell me when she gets home. This must be bad news.  I felt sick.  Her brother asks, “How bad is she going to be now??!!”   Thank goodness that narcissistic streak of his is tied to being a teenager.

She walks in and I scan her eyes.  Are they red?  I can’t tell a thing.  I want to cry.  Then, as washes her hands for dinner, she turns around and says, “Hey Mom.  Guess what?”  I look up and she’s smiling!  She’s on the boat and I start screaming.

She immediately calms me down (why can’t kids just let you cut loose once in a while?)  She looks sad.  She tells me how awful she feels for the girl who didn’t get on the boat.  This is her main focus.  She wants to know what to do.  What to say.  I tell her just to be as humble as possible when she sees her.

An hour later, she gets a text from the girl  – congratulating my daughter.  We then realize that the real winner is the other girl.  Because in her agony of defeat, she has the chance to show what an amazing person, teammate and friend she is.

So, for my daughter,  I’m proud of her.  For all of us, I’m thankful that we learned the oh-so-valuable lesson that a loss can be an even greater win, if you play it right.

Have a wonderful day!

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