Both my soccer girls had a rough weekend in State Cup. I think one team could have been more prepared, but my little one's team did everything right…and things still didn't work out the way they planned. They lost two games that they clearly should have won…and then got totally blown out in the last one. I know that "that's soccer" and that our awesome coach is teaching the girls to play the beautiful game rather than kickball, but it's still hard for both parents and girls-especially when the girls are 8 and 9.
My little one didn't really say much that day except for that her knee hurt, but late that night when we went into her room to turn the lights off she was lying awake in bed. When asked why she was awake, her blue eyes were bright with tears and her sad little voice said, "I needed some alone time to think about the game and how I could have been better." Ahhh! Heartbreak! She then climbed in our bed for some serious snuggling. After a while, we talked about how much she loves playing soccer and how losing is part of the game. When I tucked her back into bed she was smiling, but my heart was still aching.
I looked around for some articles about losing and found a good one by Janis B Meredith on her blog jbmthinks. She talks about the four steps of Acknowledging the Loss, Modeling How to Handle the Loss, Looking for Other Role Models, and Learning to Show Good Sportsmanship. I did several of these things, but next time I think I can do better.