So, my oldest daughter just wrapped up British Soccer Camp this past week. It was her first go at any kind of camp, really, as well as her first concentrated dose of any organized sport. Overall, I think she succeeded. I’m still not so sure about myself.
I kept my promise, mostly, to not embarrass her by shouting, cheering, or otherwise drawing any attention to her on the field. With the exception of one or two outbursts, I kept my word. She did not admonish me for these failings, if anything, my poor behavior was rewarded by her with a half smirk and quick glance in my general direction each time.
I found myself watching her and at odds with two separate distinct parts of myself. On the one hand I want to cheer her on and tell her to be aggressive and assert herself, to coach and advise her – as best I can. And on the other side I find myself struggling to not run out on the field and yell at the kids that knock her down, or play out of turn, act as interpreter and liaison with her coaches, and protect her from any and every thing out there that can harm her.
That first part of myself I have to bottle up because she will disown me if I let it out in public. I have no other choice, nor any alternatives. I must deal.
The second part, again, is something I need to deal with. It’s not a gender thing, of that I’m sure. I’m fairly certain I would do this if I had sons and not daughters, but not having any boys I can really only speculate.
Part of it, I’m sure, are my own memories on the foul line for free throws, or dropped passes in football, or at bats and plate appearances. I was always good enough to make the team and start, no matter what sport I tried. My best sport being baseball, which I spitefully refused to try out for in high school thinking I was rebelling against my own dad some how. I don’t think he cared either way, now, but at the time, baseball being his favorite sport, it seemed logical – to a rebellious teen – to snub it and not try out. I regret that, for my own loss more than anything, as well as being a punky-teen, now. I was, however, never a star at any sport I ever played, and had many of my own anxiety riddled moments in the spotlight, usually ending in less than heroic experiences.
And now I find myself cringing at the thought of my daughter(s) facing those same moments. Now, I have to admit here, that my oldest daughter is – even at four and a half – a far superior athlete than I ever was. She has muscle definition that I have never had, even when I was in the best of shape – and athleticism that makes me doubt, at times, she even posses any of my genetic material. So, these worries may be completely unwarranted on my part.
It amuses me further to realize she has no idea of these thoughts of mine, nor will she even begin to understand them for quite some time. Did my own parents think these same thoughts on the sidelines? Do you? Will she?
And even in acknowledging all of these neurotic little anxieties I have, I still know that the next time she’s in camp, or on the field, court, rink etc. I’ll still be in the same state.
Maybe I should hope she’ll take to more cerebral pursuits, like writing, because then I’d only ever have to fret over her first rejection letter, or finding an agent, or publisher, or her first review…