Saturday, May 5, 2012

Smells Like Competitive Spirit

My life as my son's track coach calls my relative virtue into question.

Never have I been more conflicted, given more pause, or otherwise perturbed by the sheer level of competitiveness I feel like I am biting back at every turn. Hubby, however, laughs at me.

"You? You are one of the most competitive people I've ever met."

I don't see myself in this light, but I trust his assessment. He sees everything. And I often ignore anything that's not right in front of me.

I can't ignore the competitive thing right now, though. I took on track responsibilities to ensure that our kids had their own team. And yes, I wanted Nic to be a part of this team--for many reasons. And the right reasons--after all, he's learned more about teamwork and friendship these last 6 weeks than he has in the last 6 years. He's had fantastic modeling from his peers, who regard him with bemusement much of the time.

My reaction to Nic relegated to alternate status for the Penn Relays bugged me--after all, it was supposed to be all about the friendship, right? But here I was, annoyed that Nic wouldn't be able to run the relays again. Never mind he ran last year and was lucky to do it. And never mind that he was FINE being an alternate. And as luck would have it, the fourth slot opened up, and he ran again this year. And you would think that would be enough for me, right?

(You know what's coming....)

So, as I created the rosters for the upcoming champs, I looked at everyone's best times and assigned events accordingly. And I filled out Nic's events, with a small amount of regret, knowing that his season would end decisively on Sunday.

That is, until I saw the preliminary roster.

The top six slots in individual events advance to areas. And there were only 6 runners in Nic's age bracket for the 1600.

I could scarcely believe it. I had motivation for Nic to run. AND, he'd get a medal--a small payoff for the work I subjected him to, but hey, 6th place? Cool.

Although, in the back of my mind, I knew another school would see the opening. After all, Nic is legend for his lack of speed.

Thus, I shouldn't have been surprised when there was a seventh name behind Nic's in the final event program--a kid frequently called in to run whenever Nic is running because he can beat Nic.

So, I sat there before my computer screen, seething. Wondering why this coach couldn't allow my kid a scrap of recognition. And knowing that if I were in his shoes, I probably would have done exactly the same thing.

I have to ask myself the question--do I make Nic run an event he doesn't want to run, anyway? And why would my answer change over the enrollment of one kid? He should run it just because.

"I don't like running," he told me a few times this season. "but I do like my team."

I have the schedule. I have my own assignments. Nic has his.

He knows what I expect.

Or he thinks he does. I wonder what I expect, because my own expectations are suspect. I did this for one reason, yet others...let's just say I surprise myself. And not in a good way.

He will run. Or he will choose not to run.

There comes a point where I need to step back. And let him choose.

And I'm here. This time.

1 comment:

Elizabeth said...

PS: He ran. He improved his time by seven seconds. And another kid didn't show, so he advanced.

He also ran the 800, even though he knew he would come in 7th and not place. He ran, anyway.

Proud of my boy.