A few weeks ago, my oldest daughter Sierra was excited for her very first cross-country meet. She “tried out” for the team, which I’m pretty sure consisted of listening to the school announcements and showing up at the proper time and place to sign up. I’m really proud of her for doing that part alone! Then, she and her team mates spent their school nutrition breaks running a few laps of the school “track” (a paved path around the perimeter of the school yard, softball diamond and “soccer fields”) to practice. When I was young I remember doing that very same thing with my grade school friend Amanda – the apple hasn’t fallen far from the tree!
Finally Sierra’s big cross-country day came! She was so excited but wasn’t sure what to wear or how to do her hair etc. The night before I carefully put her hair up into two French braids: one on each side. It was going to be a warm day, but the morning was cool, so I helped her pick out a pair bicycle style shorts and a tank top to wear under her pants and sweatshirt so that she could shed her top layer when it was time to run. Unfortunately the school (or my daughter) did not give me enough notice to get the day off of work so that I could go and support her. I felt very badly and was really disappointed that I couldn’t go. It’s times like this that being a working mom completely sucks.
When I picked Sierra up from school on her cross country day I was really excited to hear how she did. I had been waiting anxiously all day to hear about it and had even sent a text to my hubby mid-day to find out if maybe he had been able to go, and perhaps he had some news to share with me?!? Sadly he wasn’t able to go either.
Sierra was in sour mood when I arrived at the school to pick her up. I wasn’t sure if I should ask how her meet went, but my curiosity got the better of me.
Sierra (crying hysterically): They wouldn’t let me run the race, mom.
Me: Why not? Did you miss the start?
Sierra (crying hysterically): No! (in her best don’t you know anything voice) The girl tripped me then they didn’t let me run.
Me: Did you trip her?
Sierra (crying hysterically): NO! She tripped me! Aren’t you listening?!?
Me: Did you get hurt? Are you ok?
Sierra (crying hysterically): I was ok, but the guy wouldn’t let me run!
Anyways – after a long conversation I finally figured out that she fell, she went back to the start and wanted to run in the next “heat”. She had confused cross-country with track (she was on the track team last Spring). She didn’t know that she could get up and keep running – she just wanted to start over and try again.
If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.
Although Sierra was upset and angry that she didn’t get to race again, one of the things she kept asking me was when she and I could race together. She didn’t want to give up on racing after this bad experience – she was excited to persevere and try again!
In hindsight, I’m glad I wasn’t there – Sierra learned how to deal with a disappointing situation by herself, and much like me her way of dealing with disappointment is to plan revenge. I’m proud of her for wanting to try again and learning how to persevere!
Now does anyone know of a good trail/cross-country race that a 9-year-old could run with her mom in Southern Ontario?