I was never much in to sports as a kid, so it wasn’t until Care Bear started doing competitive fencing that I realized the potential for valuable life lessons within a competitive environment. Even though I’m not competing along side her, I’m learning some things that are valuable for my life as well!
This is Care Bear’s third season competing both locally and nationally with her fencing club. She loves fencing, and she’s pretty good at it, so the next step was to start competing even though she’s not highly competitive by nature. The first year was just learning the ins and outs of competing and how the tournaments worked. Any time she lost, she didn’t take it very hard. None of us had high expectations.
At each competition, Care Bear has done slightly better than the time before. In local competitions she even got first place once! While the first year she was only competing for the experience, now she wants to win. In her mind, the stakes are higher.
Things didn’t pan out the way she wanted. After beating herself up about it, here’s our lessons learned:
Use pressure wisely
Care Bear had two events over the weekend: one she really wanted to rank in the top eight, and one she didn’t care about as much. Guess which one she did well vs. the one she choked? The pressure she put on herself did not benefit her, but instead it hurt her. She tensed up and therefore didn’t do well. You know where she ranked in the event she didn’t care about? Eighth. It’s pretty great for the event where she is fencing girls older than her!
We have to read ourselves to find if pressure hurts us or helps us. If it isn’t helping us, what’s the issue? We aren’t robots, and though change can be hard, it isn’t impossible. We just need to make a conscious effort.
I get it, it’s hard to be a teenager. Everyone still wants to tell you what to do, but you think you have most, if not all, the answers already. Why does everyone still treat you like a kid? Well, your coach, for one, is supposed to tell you what to do. It’s his job. When you get older, you’ll have even more people telling you what to do like your spouse, your boss, the bank, the government, your kids, and the list goes on. As you get older, you get some extra freedom, but you still have people telling you what to do. Now is the time to learn how to listen to people. The stakes get much higher when you become an adult. Don’t like to listen to the bank or your boss? I hope you like living with your parents.
Don’t get mad just because your coach is constantly telling you what you can do to improve. In a tournament he doesn’t have time to sugar coat it so you’re just getting the raw information. Learn to take it and run with it.
When things don’t go your way, don’t let it drag down the rest of the tournament. I’m impressed with how Care Bear bounced back from losing the event she desperately wanted to win. It could have turned out differently and ruined the rest of our family vacation. She took the time to hang out with her friends, relax, and cheer them on in their competitions. I’m proud of her for many reasons, one of them being her ability to move forward from a set back. Losing doesn’t have to define you.
All in all, Care Bear did fairly well. She has another national competition just over a week away. In sha Allah she takes the lessons she learned from this last tournament and makes herself proud as well.
Here’s some highlights of the tournament, including Care Bear in the winner’s circle for getting in the top 8!
She can go all the way InshAllah. http://espn.go.com/espnw/journeys-victories/7323847/muslim-fencer-ibtihaj-muhammad-all-covered
Yes, in sha Allah! She is working on it! 🙂