When 2nd Place Broke His Little Heart

I don't think I'm one of those parents who live vicariously through their children. Really, I don't. Oh, sure, I get excited and might yell a few encouraging things throughout their games or meets, but I know they're the ones doing all the hard work and I have nothing to do with their failure or success.

I must admit, though, that I want them to succeed and I'm happy when they win. No apologies for feeling this way, either, because I love watching their little faces light up with pleasure. I love the delighted smiles and the sense of pride they embody for those few precious moments after they realize they've been victorious.

Of course, there are days when they don't do as well as they'd like. Days like Sunday.

Now, let me be clear. They did well. In fact, they did so well that they both brought home second place medals. That's not too shabby! In fact, it's darn good and I'm continually amazed at how well they're both doing. Especially the oldest. Not because I don't believe he can do it, but because it's his first year and I frankly didn't expect him to bring home much of anything until the end of the season. Silly me. This is his 4th medal, which means he's gotten 4 medals out of 5 meets. He's only failed to place once. That's astounding!

This is the youngest boy's second year. He had already started accumulating medals at the end of the first season, so with another year's experience, I figured he'd hold his own from the very beginning of this season. And he has. Impressively, even. He, too, has received 4 medals out of 5 meets. Nothing below a 2nd Place.

And there's the rub. Three weeks running he could have taken first because he went into the final match undefeated. Each time he failed to attain the coveted chart, losing either by a pin or a onslaught of points. This weekend's loss in that final round was so very, very hard on him. He was devastated. Not just angry, which is what I'm accustomed to seeing in this particular child, but seriously crushed. Crying he asked me, "Why does this always happen? It's not fair. I get so close and then..." insert a few hiccups here "it's just not fair."

I can't say for sure, but I think this loss was more difficult than most because of his past encounters with the kid he had to wrestle. My son knows he can beat him because he has the last two times they've been paired up. Two meets and two pins.

Perhaps it was overconfidence. Perhaps it was a bad case of nerves. Perhaps it was a misalignment of the stars. Whatever the reason, my boy lost for the first time ever to this other kid. The result was the loss of the trophy and chart he had his little heart set on.

I tried to console him. I hugged him and told him that there's nothing wrong with second place, that he did an awesome job. None of my words were able to stop his little tears. He remained heartbroken, which , in turn, broke my heart.

When we got home, I did the one thing I do well. I spent some time snuggling with my boy in front of the television. I think it helped.