This Time, I Missed the Shot
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
Today, I feel like I failed my son. I know that this is not true and what I feel is completely irrational but I just can’t shake it. I feel that maybe I did something that caused him some serious disappointment last night. Something that was beyond my control. Let me explain. Last week, hockey tryouts for AAA started. My son was cut in the first cut. This was not a big deal for him because we knew AAA was a long shot.
This weekend was the start of AA tryouts. My son has played AA before so we knew going in to the tryouts that he was definitely capable of making the team. He skated hard. He played well and essentially accomplished everything he needed to do. In spite of my bias as a mother, he was definitely as good as the best kids on the ice. But once again, he was cut in the first cut. This decision totally blindsided me. I never saw it coming. Unfortunately, neither did he.
Needless to say, I had left the rink last night feeling really positive about how his tryouts went. He showed the decision-makers that he could skate well, score goals, stop and pass the puck effectively — all of the necessary skills that make one a good hockey player. My son and I discussed the tryouts on the way home. We discussed what he still needed to do to get better but all in all, he worked hard and deserved to survive this cut. I looked at the names on the list of potential players to show up at the tryout.
I read that list four times before the reality of what I was not seeing set in. Last year, a boy made the team who didn’t try out at all. He just skated around the ice because he had a medical exemption. He also had a brother on the AAA TEAM. My son was the last kid cut last year, but we knew that this would not happen again. This year, I saw names on this list of kids who couldn’t even skate in reverse. Some of these potential players couldn’t skate with the puck. But they all made the cut. However, not my son. My question was why???
So, with all this in mind, I didn’t sleep last night. I kept asking myself — what did I miss? What was it about my son that coaches weren’t seeing that I saw, or what wasn’t I seeing that they saw? As my son’s mom, I am probably his harshest critic. I see soooooo much potential in him that I probably push him harder than I should. We are always communicating about each game. We talk about the good, the bad and what he is getting better doing. After each game, he always asks my opinion because as young as he is, he still wants to succeed.
But this time I failed him. I missed something huge. Again, what was I doing wrong???? How could I misjudge how great he looked on the ice ??? I never wanted to be the mom with rose coloured glasses — themom who thinks my kid is perfect and can do no wrong so I remain very objective in my assessment. In fact, I want to be the mom who teaches my son that failure happens and that it’s okay to fail. I want my son to recognize that failure makes us stronger. It makes us work harder to succeed the next time.
My heart would not settle. Was it because of my complaint about our coach last year?? We had a terrible coach who didn’t like competition (and that is hard when you are up against 8 other teams wanting to win). We had a crazy talented bunch of players on our team last year — so much so that when they used their collective strengths, they were virtually unstoppable. All this without the benefit of a coach. When the coach did show up for practice, he just let the boys do as they pleased. There were no drills and no structure. Conversely, when the coach didn’t show up for practice, the team’s’ mindset was about the game because they would spend the time practicing with another team. Further, the coach didn’t talk to the kids before or after a game. What many other mothers and myself did notice is that this coach sure liked to scream at the players across the ice. He told our kids they would never make the NHL — so why bother trying?? At the end of the season, both assistant coaches and the team manager said they’d never work behind the bench again.
As hard as the situation was for the kids and parents, it was worse for the coaches because they couldn’t stop coaching mid-season.In an attempt to get the coaches to understand what was happening on the ice, I wrote an email. I sent the message about halfway through the season — after the NHL comments were made. My concern was for the young players so I waited 3 days in order to be rational when I penned the words. For clarity, I also had three other hockey parents read my message to make sure it was acceptable. I did not want to sound like parents were attacking him personally.
Nevertheless, the coach was upset that I had an issue with his coaching habits. After the season ended, the association sent out a questionnaire to parents asking how we thought our season went. I was honest about the coach but then focussed on the positive. For example, I said how great our manager and assistant coaches were, and how attentive the players were to the game. Throughout, I was very careful to make sure that my comments did not sound like an attack on the coach as a person, but rather that he just wasn’t a hockey coach. He wasn’t the type of coach that 11 and 12 year olds needed to become better hockey players.
The thought haunted me. Maybe, it was all my fault for being honest that my son was cut from tryouts so early. In 5 years of hockey (plus 4 years of baseball, 2 years of soccer and 4 years of ball hockey) I had NEVER complained about a coach. I had never sent in a bad review about a coach. Last year was the exception. And now, maybe, my letter determined my son’s future in the league.
This morning, I prayed for the Lord’s guidance because feeling like a failure as a mom is not an option. I cried. I apologized to my son for being so very wrong in my initial assessment. For assuring him and giving him added confidence that he would not be cut.
In prayer, I asked God for peace of mind. I asked that my heart be calm and settled. I asked for wisdom and knowledge that only the Lord can give. Inside, I knew that my questions about the cut would never be answered (and I readily accept that) so instead, I asked the Lord to make me a stronger person. To help me as a mother discern circumstances so that my son NEVER again is led to believe that it might be him that is incapable. I asked for His strength and understanding for this particular situation and in further conversations with my son. All this, because regardless of the tryouts, I trust God to situate my son wherever he needs to be.
And finally, I also prayed that the circumstances of this season teaches both of us to trust our Lord God and Saviour for where we are and why we are where we are. Whether we like it or not, everything happens for a reason so from this point forward, we have decided to let God rule … because He sees our whole life picture from beginning to end — a picture that I only see a small part of — and in that realm, He has never failed us yet.