Sports parents, you are your own worst enemy.
Believe me, I know. After 21 years of parenting 3 athletes from pee-wee through college, I see clearly now that it was not the coach, or the teammates, or the other parents that did me in, it was two little words that haunted me before games, during games, after games and every day in between.
What if my boy doesn’t make the team?
What if my daughter doesn’t start?
What if my son doesn’t get in the game?
What if my little girl gets hurt?
What if my child doesn’t like his coach?
What if my daughter doesn’t like her teammates?
What if my young athlete doesn’t get a scholarship to college?
My dad used to tell me not to what-if myself to death and even today, with my kids grown into their 20s and the days of sports parenting stress behind me, I have to catch myself from saying “what if”.
What-if’s may be good when it comes to strategizing or creating, but they are pretty useless when it comes to trying to foresee and work through scenarios that have not yet happened, and may never happen to your or your child.
Sports parents, don’t torture yourself
Take it from an expert what-iffer, most of the what-ifs I tortured myself with never came true.
Why do we think that dwelling on the worst will help us face it better? Do you excuse your what-iffing by saying that you are preparing yourself just in case? That’s what I did, and sometimes still do.
But honestly, we don’t really know how we will handle something until we have to face it head-on. I didn’t know exactly what I would say to a daughter who got cut from the team, to a son who didn’t play much, to a child who wanted to quit until I was faced with it and had to seek wisdom within and from Above to deal with it.
Next time you catch yourself throwing out the what-if phrase, here’s what to do:
- Stop. Don’t go there.
- Tell yourself you will deal with it when it happens.
- Be thankful that you aren’t there yet.
If you insist on saying those two words, then say them, answer them, and then forget about it. But I have to tell you that even that will not make you feel much better. The what-ifs will still come back to haunt you if you give in to them too much.
“You see, the what ifs are as boundless as the stars.” (Sally Gardner)
Don’t waste another minute! The next season of youth sports is upon you.
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