Anyone who knows me, even just a little, knows that I am competitive. I like to win. A lot.
I have been competitive for as long as I can remember. I competed with the neighborhood kids, I competed with my brother. I was not a child who would back down.
In elementary school I played Tee Ball with boys. I played soccer with boys. I took dance lessons, but more often than not was running around with scraped and bruised knees. I played through a quarter of my middle school soccer game with a dislocated elbow, I finished 5ks in high school despite my knees needing to be in braces. After college I trained for distance runs, always trying to finish by a step ahead of my girlfriend. I viewed Trivial Pursuit and Scrabble as battlefields.
Admittedly, my competitiveness has mellowed over that past five years. I quickly learned that with your children there is no competition. They will always be perfect. They will always be right. They will always win. I have learned to play board games just for fun and to enjoy the run without needing to win the race.
I really thought I was reformed, and then we enrolled Addie in soccer. I was determined not to be that mom on the sideline. As I watch her play, however, my competitive spirit stirs. I want her to want it, to compete, to lay it out there. She wants to be polite. To tap the ball. To practice show tunes as she runs the field. Her favorite part of the game is high-fiving the opposing team at the game's end.
I have found myself inwardly groaning, choking back shouts to "get in there Addie!". Andy and I mutter observations to each other as the game is played. Observations about her play, the impressiveness of some of her teammates, the utter ridiculousness of opposing teams' parents.
Addie just floats through her games. She follows the pod of girls chasing the ball. Rarely does she touch the ball, but when she does her coach responds as though he just won the lottery.
Watching her be proud of each tap, kick, attempted kick has tempered my competitive edge a bit. Hearing the out of control parents on the sideline bellow at their girls has helped me stay a bit quieter. Hearing her talk about her teammates and her coach with enthusiasm has reminded me about the importance of playing the game, not winning it.
Even after scoring her first goal this week, she was most excited about the sugar soccer ball cookies after the game. Her goal almost stopped my heart, her only response? The tinist of smiles.