Sitting the bench is the hard part of playing sports.
A sports parent asks:
We are a homeschool family whose daughter is playing her second year of volleyball. This year, her 7th/8th grade team is composed of 17 girls! Many parents are upset aboaut driving all over the area to watch games where their girls sit the bench until the 3rd game–after the first two are won. With 11 girls to fit into a 3rd game, it’s a bit obnoxious. It’s actually more like watching tennis with the girls as they go in an go out of the game.
Anyway, they are ordering trophies for all the girls and our family is not in agreement with this. They have told the girls that there is an A team and a B team, but that in the end, all of them will get trophies. Are we being unreasonable when we ask them not to order a trophy for our daughter as she didn’t even help in effort to win one? We paid to have her play, drove approximately 100+ miles a week to practices and games to see her play about 1 hour total, if that.
We are teaching our children that you are rewarded for hard work and that “entitlements” do not exist in our home. We work hard in our home for all that we do and we do not like the thought of rewards to sit the bench. We don’t agree. What do you think?
I totally understand your frustration. And I also understand that you feel your daughter should not be rewarded for just sitting on the bench. The idea that they put 17 girls on the team is a subject for another post!
I have been through this, seen my kids have little to no playing time and still be “rewarded” and treated as if they were a part of the reason for the team’s success. I struggled with this question too.
This may not be easy for you to swallow, but I think that your perspective of “team” might be a bit askew. The team is everyone, not just the ones who see game time.
The team includes…
…the backup catcher like my daughter who played on a high school club softball team one year where she served as the bullpen catcher and when they went to nationals, saw ONE inning in 7 games. She was needed–in the bullpen. But still she was needed.
…the backup QB who rarely gets into the game, but helps the team in practice by throwing against the #1 defense so they can be better prepared. For his entire junior season of varsity football, my son played this role. It was very hard to watch.
…the basketball player who doesn’t see much time on the court but is an encourager, and even leads the team in prayer before each game. My daughter did this her senior year of varsity basketball. Her positive attitude blessed her teammates and her coach.
You can help your daughter understand that she has a role on the team, whether or not she gets much game time, that she IS important. I have known athletes who got very little playing time, but from the bench were the heart and soul of the team.
You as a parent can help her see this and encourage her by expressing your pride for her hard work at practice, her good attitude, and her persistence even in a tough situation.
And for those reasons, she does deserve a trophy.