Friday, May 24, 2013

Learning to deal with disappointment

DD got to experience a bit of life's ups and downs last night and learn that life and the people in it are not always fair.  Her tennis banquet was last night, but let me back up a bit to the end of tennis season last year. She was about 4th on the team ladder, with the top 3 (and several below DD) being seniors. Coach told DD she'd be the top player next year and would have her choice of singles or doubles. In the first 2 years she was on the team the #1 girl always played singles. DD so wanted to play singles. She worked her butt off all summer, fall and winter to get even better, because while she knew she could beat the girls on her team, she'd knew there was tougher singles competition with the other teams in the district. She did a summer camp daily for 6 weeks, she took some semi-private lessons during the fall and some private lessons during the winter. She called girls on the team all the time to arrange to meet up and practice. She was already pretty good (well, compared to the rest of the girls on her team) but with all that work she got even better. Her serves were stronger and consistent. Her returns had form and placement and she's not afraid to go to the net.

Tennis season starts this year and she has proven the hard work paid off. In the ladder matches (singles matches) to determine where the girls levels are she can't be beat. Coach puts her to play first doubles. DD is very disappointed (she had reminded coach again she wanted to play singles) but coaches reason is she feels she'd have a stronger doubles team(s) with DD in that position for a better chance at an overall team win. She played doubles (frustratingly, because her partner had some good moments but for the most part was pretty inconsistent) all season but one match, where she got to play singles because the 1st singles player and DD's doubles partner had to miss a match (and DD had to push to get to play singles!).

DH and I have never missed a match in 3 years (well, I missed one at the end of the season when my tooth broke!). We don't butt in and tell the coach what to do, we talk to her when she comes over and talks to us during a match, but we don't try to be "those" parents who butt in. But, we noticed coach acting different about DD all year. Making some very strange comments - that just kind of made us go "hmmm.."  I can't recall them all right now - like the time she played the singles match and totally creamed the other girl (like 6-1, 6-0) and coaches response was "she got to play the easiest girl in the district", though during a later season conversation when someone else was playing her, this girl was given props for beating her. Just strange little comments all season. At first we thought we were imagining it or maybe being hyper-sensitive (DH is that way) for some reason.  Just kind of back-handed type of "compliments".

At the end of the season they did ladder matches again to help designate who would go on to sub-districts. No one could beat DD -even the girl in number 2 spot maybe only won a game or two out of 2 sets. Even during tennis season DD will play tennis almost 7 days a week. If she can't find someone to play on the weekends she takes her brother, or she just goes by herself and practices serves.

So, back to last night. The coach talks about each girl - starting with JV and lowest ranked and moves on up. DD was the last one she talked about. While she said the obligatory stats and such, coach says that she knows DD really wants to play singles next year and she'll have some work to do to get ready for that. Are you FREAKING kidding me??!!

DD was co-captain this season, with another girl (who played 2nd singles) who was a senior. Captains are voted on by the girls. The past couple of years DD has suspected some "manipulation" of who ends up captain, by the coach. The year before the #1 girl (who had been on the team since freshman) apparently got outvoted in favor of another girl. That year the coach said there would be co-captains, instead of one captain and this #1 girl was co-captain. Somewhat understandable, in my book. Then for this year there were 5 seniors but all of them low on the ladder and DD said most all the girls were telling her they voted for her (a junior), being the top ranked and on the team the longest of all the girls on the team this year. It was announced at the banquet last year that again there would be co-captains....DD and another girl who was a senior. Ok, I get that, again.  DD was voted, but coach felt a senior should be involved, so co-captains again, it is. (None of this is said directly by the coach - just assumptions we are making based on what DD knows and the other girls have said). Then last night when captain for next year was announced we kind of assumed it would be DD....or at least as a co-captain thing again. Nope - it was another senior girl, no co-captain this year.  Interesting when coach felt the top senior player should have that position 2 seasons ago she put her in it with a co-captain, but wouldn't do it for DD this next year, her senior year?

I know DD was terribly hurt and disappointed! She was voted on by the girls to receive the "Most Inspirational" award. Do you really think they then didn't vote for her for captain? Hmm...DD is the sweetest, most humble person. She doesn't act like she is better than everyone else.We told DD to just keep on getting better (she plans to take more private lessons during the off season) and go back next year and still be the girl to beat on the ladder and keep her #1 spot and just prove it on the court. I don't have a clue what could be her coaches problem with her is (the first 2 years she acted like she loved DD). DD will just go back and do her senior year and get her 4th year letter in Varsity - along with the other awards she usually gets - Scholar Athlete and First Team All League and some other award I can't remember it's called - but the other coaches vote on top 10 girls in the whole district and she was one of them.

She's disappointed, but I think it's made her even more determined to get even better and play even harder. Guess we'll just have to wait and see if she gets to play singles next year.....

I know I'm sounding like a whiner, but I really don't understand why this always seems to happen to us. We are not "takers". We go above and beyond to volunteer and help out. My kids are not egotistical. They don't get all excited over a win and rub it in someone elses face. They don't brag, at all. We go by the rules and do it the right way to get to a certain level/position (and the related "perks") for something and as soon as we get there the rules suddenly change! I can't tell you how many times it's happened in my son's racing. One example is when he was transitioning from the kids racing into the adult racing. At our home track you had to be 16 to race. We didn't try to change the rule, we accepted it (though there were others racing who were not 16, but just lied about their age, used fake ID). DS went to a driving school out of state when he was 15 and did very well.  We then took him out of state when he was still 15 for his first race. A small track, not heavy competition, but our goal was to just get him some experience racing with others on the track (as opposed to the school where he was on the track alone doing laps). He won on his very first race! We then took him out of state a couple of more times that summer, to larger venues and he did well for a 15 yr old kid. Made it into the main events each night and held his own, didn't get into anyone's way, etc. Proved he could more than handle himself on the track.

At the end of that race season, literally days before his 16th birthday was the last race at our home track - a memorial race to honor someone who had been very special and important to our family. He was one of my DH's best friends (DH was even one of the speakers at his memorial service) and meant the world to both my kids. We asked if DS could race in this race - he was days away from being 16, it would mean the world to him to race in this race to honor our dear friend and of course he's start in the back and keep out of the way. It wasn't like he didn't have any racing experience, he raced for 9 years as a kid and now had 5 races under his belt in the adult car. We were told NO. So, we accepted it and didn't make a stink or anything. Literally months later, when the next race season started...guess what?...the rules were changed. Now all of a sudden you could be 14 years old to race!!

Or the time when DS was 8 and had been racing 3 years. We belonged to a small race club - maybe 20 kids at most. Every year was an award "Driver of the Year" A perpetual trophy that each name got added onto each year and the kid got to keep the cup for that year. It was always drivers who won the season championship, etc. That year we take DS across the country to race in a national event. He won a national championship in his class. He had also won our club championship. He'd be the "Driver of the Year" right? Um no.....suddenly the club president changed the award to it goes to the kid "most improved" and says that's how it's always been. What a joke. The kid who won it the 2 years before had never been most improved in his life - he came out of the gate a star driver (as his dad had built a track at their home and he had more laps before he was 5 then all other kids put together). But when it was our turn for the recognition it suddenly changed. That just seems to be the story of our lives and I really don't get it!

Or the time I get a hard to get job with this company in my home town - close to home and great benefits - one being a paid lunch hour! I mean who does that?! But this company had done that for the 20 years or so they'd been in business. 3 months after I get the job they stop that perk!


  1. When I read your headline I thought for sure this was going to be about DS and the job. Hopefully that's still plodding along in the usual giant corporation snail's pace.

    I feel for DD and freely admit I hate the politics of organized sports. Sometimes I think the trend toward minimizing excellence and exceptionalism so that everyone feels the same and special is everywhere. DD has worked hard and should be very proud of her progress, even if the coach overlooks her and will not put her in the ranking she has earned. It sounds like her coach does not want to recognize or highlight her extra effort. Maybe out of fear of making feel someone less driven or talented feel discouraged? Coach sounds very shortsighted.

    Your DD has a great attitude and it will serve her well, and I know you are understandably a very proud parent. That said, I really feel for you in having to bite your tongue and grin and bear it while she endures.

  2. I had a similar situation in high school. At the end of my junior year I started dating a guy who turned out to be the son of my new senior year basketball coach. I broke up with him two months later and he started dating my best friend who became my ex best friend at that point. High school drama, gotta love it! Anyway, I was slated to be captain of the basketball team as well as a starter but thanks to my ex best friend (still dating the coach's kid), I wasnt either and she took that role even though she was an awful player and a bench warmer in previous years. Half way through the season I finally "earned" the starter position back from her except of course for senior night. There was 6 seniors on the team and I was the one who didn't get to start the game. It was a slap in the face! I quit the team with three games to go as I finally had it with the coach. This catastrophe followed me to the track team as my basketball coach's two best friends were the track coaches and my ex best friend was also on the team. The only saving grace was I had one coach that sheltered me from the other two. It was an awful senior year sports wise but it taught me a lot. I stuck up for myself and never let any of them win. My quitting the basketball team could almost be considered a lose except my team sucked so instead I got to focus on school. for whatever reason the coach does not like your daughter and it will probably not change. It sucks but it will make her stronger.

  3. Poor DD - that just stinks. But she sounds like the kind of girl who will take the "high road" and just keep giving it her best. There's "politics" involved in everything these days. Very sad. She's 'worked hard and was hoping this would be rewarded. Can understand her disappointment. Wonder what the heck the coach's problem is? Could DD have a heart-to-heart, one-on-one talk with her and find out what her reasoning is? Well, she's got proud parents, and you've been there to support her all through these years - so she's a lucky girl, for sure. She's gonna be a huge success in life, I'm betting! Have a great holiday weekend!

  4. It might be worth discussing the situation with your school sports advisor. I forget their exact title but my school had a person in charge of all sports. They might have some ideas or comments. Also, I hate to say this but maybe something is going on or has happened that your daughter isn't telling you. It's not unheard of for a child to omit information. I never told my mom the whole story about my basketball/track season. She probably would have strangled the coach! Haha!

  5. Thanks everyone for the kind words and support. It is hard watching your child hurt! But she is a good person and will take the high road on this. She is like me, she doesn't like conflict and confrontation, so I doubt she will try to ask coach about it. If she doesn't get to play singles next year, I'm sure she will give talking to her a shot, as that will probably be the last straw for DD. There are 2 singles spots on the team and no reason the #1 player shouldn't have one of them.

    Fortunately for DD, she is also the type of person that can look at the big picture of her life and not get all caught up in one moment.

    61scribbles - DS is still in the running for the job! They decided he'd be more qualified for a Tier 1 position, rather than Tier 2, so now he's waiting to hear for an interview appointment with the head of that group. We are still keeping our fingers and toes crossed!