The following text exchange occurred over the weekend between my daughter (who was out of town at a softball tournament) and me:

Me:  How’s your day?

Two hours later…

Huh:  We just won our game.

Me:  Yay!

Huh:  I played terrible today.  Couldn’t hit, couldn’t throw.

Me:  Uh oh.

Huh:  We lost the last two games I played in.  The coaches made me sit this last one out and we won.  What does that say?

Me:  What do you think it says?

Huh:  It says I suck.

Me:  I think you are being too hard on yourself.

Huh:  I suck, Mom.

Me:  Don’t beat yourself up.  Everybody has an off day sometime.

Huh:  I suck.

Me:  Did you strike out?

Huh:  No, but the hits weren’t good.

Me:  Got out on base?

Huh:  Yup.

Me:  Any RBI’s?

Huh: No.

Me:  What position did you play?

Huh: Second.

Me:  Make any outs there?

Huh:  I missed an out when we needed it most.

Me:  At Second?

Huh:  No, throwing to home.

Me:  Throw it over her head?

Huh:  Yup.

Me:  Ouch.  Did the coaches say anything?

Huh:  They said, “Huh, what’s wrong with you?”

Me:  Which coaches said that?

Huh:  All of them but Sue.

Me:  What was your answer?

Huh:  That I needed to get my crap together.

Me:  Was your shoulder hurting?

Huh:  No.

Me:  Were you nervous?

Huh:  No.  Just retarded.

Me:  Lol.  Well, it takes a big person to own the problem.  Now just work extra hard at practice and warm-ups.

Huh:  If the coaches even let me play again.

Me:  I’m sure they will.  Everybody has an off day once in awhile.

Huh:  But they don’t have off moments when it is most crucial for our team.  I always seem to let them down.

Me:  Ah, you are forgetting all the times you have come through for your team with big outs and major hits, like the one against JHS.

Huh.  That was last year.

Me:  So?  This season is just beginning, there is still plenty of time to show your mettle.  It is a sign of maturity to own the problem and move forward.

Some time goes by…

Huh:  Thanks Mom.

Me:  I love you.  Tomorrow will be better.

Huh:  Love you too.

I deliberately chose not to dial my daughter’s number for two reasons.  First,  I didn’t know if any of her teammates were nearby, and I knew Huh would not have wanted them hearing our conversation, and the second reason was that texting prevented a total meltdown.  There have been many times over the years that my daughter has been hard on herself over some perceived failure on her part as she has played the game of softball.  She missed that catch or she had a lousy hit or she didn’t make the throw.  Every once in awhile she lets it get to her and she doesn’t want consoling words or encouragement, she just wants to be angry at herself and wallow in self-pity.  This is not uncommon.  I remember one of the team moms once telling me about a time her daughter felt like she had single handily lost a game for the team and was inconsolable in her room for an entire night.

I suppose it is all a part of participating in sports.  Our children will be hard on themselves at times.  As a parent it is our job to help them through those feelings by not looking for excuses and not blaming coaches or other players but by offering encouraging words and a listening ear.  I was grateful for the limitations of texting.  Our “conversation” had to be short and to the point.  Since I wasn’t nearby, my daughter was unable to play the emotion card.  She still knew I was sympathetic to what she was feeling but that she really was being too hard on herself and that she just needed to move forward.

The next day the following text exchange occurred:

Huh:  We just won our game and I was able to redeem myself!

Me:  Yay!  You played well?

Huh:  Good hits.  Good plays.

Me:  Yay! Did your coaches say anything?

Huh:  They said I did good.

Me:  🙂

Yes, indeed a big ol’ 🙂  Life is going to continue.