Dear Mr. Kuyper:
We have a situation that I was hoping that you might be able to help us with.
About 2 months ago, we signed up for our daughter to play on a girl’s volleyball team that plays in a competitive league. She attended the tryouts and was placed on a team as all the girls are placed on teams because this club does not cut; they use tryouts for placement purposes. Our daughter is somewhat of a new player and was placed on the lower level team for her age group. We do not have a problem with this and we do understand that was probably the correct team placement for her right now.
After 3 weeks and 3 games, we are 0-3. We haven’t won a game and as a matter of fact we have a really bad team. All the girls are beginning players and our games have been very lopsided to say the least. The other teams and referees snicker and wonder what we’re doing in this league.
I am embarrassed and do not want her to play on this team anymore. We have paid the fees and would like to get out of this commitment. It is too hard each week to watch our team get destroyed by the other teams. The games aren’t even fun to watch because the games are so short; the rallies back and forth don’t last. This is not fun volleyball to watch.
What is your suggestion to help us get out of this situation?
Steven in Nebraska
Hi Steven. Let me re-phrase what I think you are asking me: “How do we quit?” this is what I hear you asking me. My answer: You don’t quit!
I can surely sympathize with you as these eight weeks or so might not be very fun. But, it is only 8 weeks of her life. She has so many more teams and season to play for. I know this is hard for parents to endure. I have 4 kids that all played sports and we had seasons of being undefeated where we dominated every game, and we had seasons of being the worst team, never winning a game. Believe it or not, I am so thankful for both of these experiences for my kids. You should be too.
You are the one that needs to now step up and be the mature one in this situation. You need to help her develop something valuable to learn in these 8 weeks. There is something in there that can be used for her personal character development and her athletic development as well. You need to find it!
Don’t “rescue” her out of this learning situation. Let her grow as she first of all experiences her parents’ maturity, encouragement and guidance along this hard path. Don’t teach her to quit. She will experience many more hard situations in the long life ahead of her, and to learn how to give up, throw in the towel, and quit will teach her the wrong methods in dealing with adversity. Sometimes we find a way for our kids to escape, and that is not helpful to them. It’s also important to evaluate your own motives… is it ever right to bail on something because of our own feelings of embarrassment? Don’t go there!
You need to be the role model in the areas of perseverance and endurance. You need to be the one who finds the silver lining. Even if there are not a lot of positive things to recognize, that is ok too. Everything doesn’t have to be perfect and easy for our kids all the time. Again, I know that is easier said than done, and sometimes a heavy load for a parent to bear, but it is important for her growth.
I think that quitting with 4-5 weeks left in this short season has many more negative implications than going undefeated in the losing column.
If you have questions or comments for Tom Kuyper, email him at: firstname.lastname@example.org