It’s the end of the school year and final exams are just a few days away. The last-minute assignments, AP exams, College Credit Exams, are all piling up not to mention that he would like to occasionally practice tennis. I can hear the stress in my son’s voice every time I talk to him. Late nights, a new addiction to caffeine, occasional melt downs are overtaking his life. I pulled the plug on this week-ends tennis tournament, he didn’t need the added stress of that. Of course he would rather be playing tennis but I suggested that he hit the court for a break and use it to relieve stress rather than add to it. “Two more weeks” I remind him…”just two more weeks, then you can stop and take a breath.”
Last night he sounded more stressed out than ever and I decided it was time to have a mother-son moment and help him put things into perspective.
- ”You have worked hard all year and you have always done the best you can in school. I know you’ve given your best effort and we have never asked for anything more than that. We love you and are proud of you. Number 1, number 2 or number 22 doesn’t matter to us, just that you did your best.”
- ” I know mom, the stress and the pressure is self-inflicted, don’t worry it’s not you. I want that number one spot!”
This is when I realized what it was to be a competitor. It doesn’t matter if he is on the court or in the classroom, he is a competitor. It isn’t something we can teach, or brow-beat into our children, it is an inherent quality in their personality. The drive to win comes from within. You can’t want to win for someone else you have to want to win for yourself. It is that feeling of “I want it so bad I will do whatever it takes.” that allows them to spend an extra hour on the court after everyone else goes home, go the gym everyday and work out instead of going to the ice cream joint with their friends. This is the quality that successful competitive tennis players have, the quality that will drive them to succeed in most everything they do. It is this quality that makes them pull themselves back together after a bad loss and hit the practice court even harder with more focus and determination. It is a quality I admire.
Just because you want something doesn’t mean you are going to get it. But the one thing you will always know is that at the end of the day you know you gave it your best shot and you have nothing to be ashamed of and no regrets. As a parent it is my job to support my kids, provide them with opportunities and hold their hand when things don’t go their way and remind them that they did their best and I am proud of them for that!