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Move On

May 15, 2011

“I wish I was a glow worm,
A glow worm’s never glum.
‘Cos how can you be grumpy
When the sun shines out your bum!”
~Author Unknown

This morning long before the apples were chopped and the oatmeal was savored.

Order rose in the dark with her father to drive an hour away and race as the sun rose.

She does this almost every weekend. Willingly, usually joyfully and often with pre-race jitters. Two weeks ago we celebrated her win as State Champion.

While the littles ran out in the rain shrieking and damp, Order raced through pouring rain and Coach soggy, cheered on the sidelines.

She came in third. But she is crushed, not at the placement, heck its podium, but at the behavior of her fellow racers. More so at the conduct of the racer’s parents.

Don’t get your knickers in a knot.  Nothing is solved and it just makes you walk funny.”  ~Kathryn Carpenter

Years ago when Coach coached soccer , t-ball, baseball and then girls softball, I privately struggled  with those  parents who saw nothing wrong with encouraging their child by verbally abusing another. Do I say something? Do I not? How to remind them that it is just a game, a game children are playing. We are meant to encourage the love of playing, the camaraderie of team and so on. I longed back then for a gentle hand from above to turn their face to the joy on their child’s. It never happened and Coach would often have a quiet chat with that parent. Sometimes it worked often the ego was too loud to hear any other voice.

If at first you don’t succeed, do it again like your mother told you.”  ~Author Unknown

I am a competitive sort of gal, I revel in the thrill of winning and celebrate  any of my three daughters achievements; be it cycling, lead in a play, teaching themselves a piano tune by ear.

In all disclosure I am the LOUDEST at any sideline. I know this, so I hide at the back of the course. I cheer, I yell, I shout. But not at the cost of the other. Not over integrity or dignity ( OK I look foolish maybe at the cost of my dignity and propriety). But never ever at the cost of any child’s self-esteem, ability or performance. Junior women cycling is a small, small community, so comments are personal; they sting and wound. Which is why I suppose, those who have lost perspective use them as a competitive edge they offer their child.

“Sometimes I think my life would make a great TV movie.  It even has the part where they say, “Stand by. We are experiencing temporary difficulties.”  ~Robert Brault

It is so very hard to turn away, to struggle within to hold dignity. That there will always be those who have forgotten their better selves in school, in jobs, in sports will always be true. It is our ability to leave room to hold our heads high that is based on the perspective  to see this and pass by, not pause or stop to join the drama. I am sipping coffee at my desk in a warm house not soaked to the skin in cold rain on the sidelines. It feels holier than thou to my husband and daughter when I speak of this into the phone.

“To be wronged is nothing unless you continue to remember it.”  ~Confucius

I am saddened. How do you console a child who cannot fathom another parent who uses words to slash the spirit and deflate the striving. Racing bikes it’s your legs against another, your ability to read a break, choose your timing and measure your opponent’s awareness, skill and physical resources. All things considered, a great bike is a small part in the whole schematic.  It is like any endeavor one undertakes; heart, will, courage to try  and like everything our mothers told us, practice makes if not perfect, at least prepared. How do you remind yourself in the moment when a parent or egads a professional coach of other juniors has forgotten. Or frankly coached or taught their daughter to play by rules that reflect this base view. How do you race against that? What do you say to your child to guide them and empathize without demeaning the other child or adult?

“No vision and you perish;
No ideal, and you’re lost;
Your heart must ever cherish
Some faith at any cost.
Some hope, some dream to cling to,
Some rainbow in the sky,
Some melody to sing to,
Some service that is high.”
~Harriet Du Autermont

I watch sports on TV and wonder perhaps if our society’s acceptance of throwing chairs and tantrums gives credence to this as acceptable behavior.

So  as I hear her voice over the phone shaking in anger and frustration, I tell her a champion is not determined by how others raced or behaved, but by how she performs in those situations. Win or lose. A champion is not determined by that win or  loss but by what she gave to the challenge, in spite of it all. Race because you love to ride and win if there is opportunity. It is rotten and it hurts to hear awful words, let them drive you not determine you.

“My Mama always said you’ve got to put the past behind you before you can move on.”
–  Forrest Gump




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