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“Hi, how was your game?” I shouted to my tween son as I walked in the door from my daughter’s soccer game. For years, Saturdays in our house have been for soccer while Sundays are reserved for baseball which means I rarely miss a game. I love being spectator, cheering on my kids and their teammates while supporting their love of the sport.
Eager to hear about how his baseball game went, I headed upstairs. “How was your game?” I repeated as he took his headphones off and turned away from the YouTube video he was watching. With a big sigh, I could tell in an instant that it didn’t go well.
It’s ok that the other team won. The 7-1 loss wasn’t a big deal but what was a big deal was how comments made by a teammate during the game made my son feel. Criticisms of fielding at first base and left field, the two positions my son played during the game, combined with “We need better players” hurt.
I leaned in for a hug and I could feel the weight of the words as he leaned into me. We talked about how having a teammate make such statements demoralizes fellow players, especially when you consider the person to be a friend. I acknowledged that the game sounded challenging and led to kids being frustrated. We talked about how it’s ok to be frustrated and how negative feelings can be redirected in positive, constructive ways, so feelings don’t get hurt.
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