Shooting Hoops, Lessons For Kids

By: Alyice Edrich

No matter where we look or what life throws our way, there is always a lesson to be learned, if we just take the time to look for it.

On February 27, 2004 our family was fortunate enough to take a mini-vacation, courtesy of our 13-year-old son.? The week before this big event, our son entered a local “Hoop Shooting" competition and won first place, four tickets to the University game, and a chance to win the regionals.? So Saturday morning we packed our bags, booked a hotel, and headed down to Green Bay, Wisconsin to join many other aspiring basketball shooters for a chance to move forward to the state championships.

My son anxiously watched teen after teen take his or her turn at shooting hoops.? He observed every technique as he waited for his turn. After waiting nearly an hour for his chance to shoot, my son went to the hoops.? His first basket was a miss.? We could see the frustration in his eyes.? He looked down at the floor, swirled the basketball in his hands, looked up at the hoop, and tried again.? Another miss.? We cheered him on; reminding him to relax and just have fun.? But he wasn’t there to “just have fun." He wanted to win!

He shot another hoop and missed again—this time shaking his head in disbelief.? Finally, a few balls make it in the hoop.? It took a total of 20 seconds, but it might as well have been hours.

My son walked away from his hoop frustrated, disappointed, and knowing that he didn’t make it to the regionals—after all, there were several guys before him that had double the hoops he had.

While my son didn’t make it to the state championships, he learned a very valuable life lesson: sometimes your best just isn’t good enough, but that doesn’t mean you failed. Our son was pretty upset when he realized another child had not one or two, but 14 hoops more than him.? He felt like he failed and rightly so.? While he didn’t want to get his hopes up; he really wanted to win, and have a chance at those four Orlando, Florida tickets.? And what child wouldn’t want an all-expense paid trip to Disneyworld, let alone the Championship Basketball game?

If it were up to him, he would have left before watching the game and went back to the hotel room to sulk and beat himself up.? Instead, we took this opportunity to help him work through this life disappointment and show him the good that came from the situation.?

Sure, he didn’t make it to the next level, sure it sucked, and sure he had a right to feel down and disappointed.? But he couldn’t run away from the situation because that wouldn’t help him when (and being human, he will) he failed again.

We gave him time to sulk and deal with the disappointment and then we sat down to share our perspective on the situation:

1.?????? He did his best.

2.?????? Because of his earlier accomplishment we were going to be able to watch a game we would not have been able to watch otherwise.

3.?????? We were proud of him regardless of whether he won or lost, and were just so darn excited to be able to cheer him on.

4.?????? He placed first in a town of 10,000.

5.?????? It’s okay to fail.? We all fail at some point in our lives.

6.?????? There’s always next year. If he thinks he could have done better, he has an entire year to practice before next year’s shoot-out.

In the end, we stayed, watched the game, and had a great time! When life gets the better of you, don’t let it keep you down.? As the old saying goes, “when life hands you lemonsFind Article, make lemon aid!"

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