Last weekend marked the end of yet another season of basketball for my daughter. An unusually demanding season, I still found myself looking forward to not just watching her play but to cheer and gab with other parents. It started out as any other season except that I seemed much more emotionally involved regarding the outcome of each game. Not a competitive person by nature, I had my share of competitive tennis growing up. I remember enjoying the mantra of hitting and receiving the ball on my racquet but very little interest in winning, or so I thought.
Continuing to pay attention and listening to my unusual reactions throughout this season, I have come to realize that my own fear of losing far outweighed my desire to win. I know this because over the past few months, I’ve watched my daughter handle winning and losing in a most remarkable way. Venting about “bad refs” and shedding some tears upon each loss, I’ve observed my daughter bounce back beautifully from game to game. Winning, as much fun as it can be, mostly comprised of her shelving a trophy or getting a new t-shirt. She always seemed more interested in the process of going to practice, learning new skills and being with her teammates. This is not the way I learned to do things, not at all!
So it became immensely cathartic for me when my daughter’s team lost in the third round of the state tournament by one point. My sudden intense wave of tears was not about her losing or even about an end to a wonderful season; it was about old memories that needed healing. I found myself absolutely traumatized when her team lost their 3-point lead in the remaining 45 seconds of the game. I could barely breathe, much less speak. I was in a kind of mind-numbing abyss and just wanted to crawl up in a ball and go to sleep. I was absolutely devastated and there was nothing I could do about it, so I didn’t.
Pulling myself up from the bench, I somehow made it over to the other parents who were all huddled around the coaches and the team. Not looking much better than me, we all stood in shock as the coach talked the girls down and reminded them of all the wonderful things they had learned this year and how proud he was of each and every one of them. Overwhelmed with emotion, I looked over at my daughter who was sitting against the wall looking down at her feet. A few tears rolling down her cheek, she got up, put on her shooting shirt and grabbed a couple teammates to go get something to eat from the snack stand. And that was that!
Afterward, some of us parents gathered around and hugged. It was tough on us, it really was! I came to realize, however, that my tears had very little to do with the girls losing that day and everything about me healing some of my own painful losses. Still tired and frazzled, we took the team to lunch and watched them bounce back as they laughed and enjoyed each other. I, on the other hand, was exhausted and took a nap on the way home. It was a long day for me and rightfully so, I had been holding in a lot of pain for a very long time and today was the relief I had been waiting for.
How about you? Do you ever find yourself overreacting to a situation that has little or nothing to do with you? Maybe you, too, are being invited to heal the wounds of the past by being present to the tears of today.
Bio: Vera Snow says, “I’m a daughter of Czech immigrants, married to a ‘salt-of-the-earth’ Indiana boy and mother of teen-age identical twin girls. I’m also a spiritual director, writer and group facilitator. I love to ride my scooter all over town and far and away!” This piece was originally published on Vera’s blog; we thank her for her kind permission to reprint. For more of Vera’s work, please visit her blog at http://verasnow.blogspot.com/; visit VeraSnow.com to learn more about her work in spiritual direction.
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Photo credit: rmontiel85