All About Winning

When your son's team loses a soccer match, do not ask "What happened?" in the car on the way home.

A follow up comment like "I mean, this was not the result we were looking for, but we can live with it" does not help. Your son already knows the truth. Soccer is all about scoring goals and winning matches. And you dear disappointed mom should know better than to behave like a devastated fan. Aren’t you the team player that schlepped your boy to all his practices, games and tournaments this past month because hubby was away on business:  attending the 2010 World Cup Draw in Cape Town, rubbing shoulders with FIFA’s crème de la crème and god knows who else, does not qualify as business in my book. Right now it is hay-in-the-making.

And speaking of turning opportunity into success, your son and this knot of boys, all tied up in a cheer as they prepare to steer their team to victory, they know that it takes focus, determination and maximum effort in order to succeed.

When your striker demonstrates belief in himself as he races off with the ball, looking to make a pass or to drive it within yards of the goal, his all-star position gets the glory as well as a load of pressure.

But with composure and flair so unique, your boy rolls his sleeves, gets to work and hopes the spine of his team will hold up.

Eventually, good things happen in front of the net.

And everyone joins in the celebration.

So mom, after all is said and done and your son's team loses the match, say something like:

"Good game.  You guys could have won, with a little luck.  You played well so be proud of yourself."

Because you and I both know, teamwork is nothing new to you.  After all, in the past month, you have handled the 9-5, the household, the boys, the homework, the soccer practices and tournaments.  You even managed a decent writing schedule (more like an insomnia antidote).  You volunteered to be an alternate driver in the resuscitated vanpool, thereby reducing your reading/writing time and increasing your daily stress.  It is understandable that you could not fit in a blogpost, depriving your readers of one or two dramatic episodes of the Vanpool Diaries.  Perhaps it is just as well because you don't want to get sued by a disgruntled rider when they read about it in a bestseller one day.  Accusations such as 'she defamed me' or 'she used personal characteristics that made me recognizable and then mixed them up with other traits that were false and defamatory' will fly and punitive amounts will be awarded.

Hmm...Who knows, maybe the hay that hubby is making might actually be wheat, enough of it to make bread

Salaams of the season to you and yours!

Mama Shujaa.


  1. I've long understood the first rule of parental engagement in sports events. We care more than our progeny. We spend an awful long time explaining to them that it's not about winning that it's about taking part and cometh the day... and we spoil it all. So, not only did I love your post but I totally sympathised with your son. A couple of summers ago I had to hold myself back before blurting out to my son how come his year 5 team had come second. He was beaming, he was enjoying his runner-up place, so I decided to shut up and hug him instead. Your son will definitely value those efforts you're putting into his sports events as much as the actual activity.

    Great tale. And as for him learning German. Willkommen! But, no, don't forget your parents' languages either :-).

    Greetings from London.

  2. I totally loved this post. What a wonderful mum you must be. I hope he knows it too. :)

  3. ACIL, Yes, we do care a lot more. Sometimes to the point of really bad behaviour. Just last weekend, during our final tournament of the season, two moms got into a fist fight, complete with hair pulling and biting before they were pulled apart by the tournament director and others. It was the first time I had ever witnessed such a thing; and it happened right across from the field my son's game was on. Apparently the angry mum got mad at another who accused her nine-year-old of 'faking it' when he was fouled and fell to the ground. It was terrible. Needless to say on the ride home, my son and I had a long discussion about it.

    Yes, I am practicing the art of holding myself back and I am quick to admit my mistakes like the time I blurted out "well, we didn't win." And he quickly reminded me "mom, you buy lotto tickets don't you; you win some and you lose some, right?" Trust me, I would have never uttered such words to my parents, so he's lucky he was born in his time...LOL. More importantly, I am lucky because I see no harm in admitting to your kid when you are wrong about stuff. I love the look on his face when I apologise and he says "that's ok mom, don't worry about it."

    Anengiyefa: I think he knows it 'cos he is real quick to say 'thank you' and 'please' and 'you are the best mom ever.'

    Thanks for the comments.

  4. Your son looks like an ace soccer player – great action shots! I’m clueless about soccer and sports in general, but I’ll show up to cheer the kids on. It sounds like your sport is juggling! Ah, the work of moms….

  5. Sarah: Yes, mom's work is never done. He is a good player with a lot of potential and he loves the game. And yes, I get the GOLD medal in juggling. :-) Thanks.

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