For instance, when I watch my kids engaged in sports, competition, or performance, I am not really rooting for them to win, or to be the best. I just want them to be good enough that none of us are embarrassed. This very low bar has still not always been met. We have been at pinewood derby races where Sena and Gus's cars could barely make it down the track. While we tried to spin it in our favor-- we were probably the only parents there who didn't build the cars for their kids-- it's hard to watch your kid come in dead last. Over and over again.
When Gus started soccer this season, I was just hoping for good enough. I hoped they would win some of their games so that he wouldn't lose enthusiasm for the sport. I wanted him to get play time. I wanted him to feel he was an integral part of the team. That was all I needed, and that is pretty much how the season went. He had a laid back coach who remained relatively quiet on the sidelines. They spent most of their practices scrimmaging rather than running drills. The pressure was low, and so were my expectations. The team played well together and there were a few really good players, but it wasn't an all-star team. So it came as a great surprise that they won their play-off game, then the semi-finals, and finally ended the season bringing home the #1 trophy. What came as an even greater surprise was how much I wanted his team to win watching those games. The nerves. The anxiety.
The rearing of a competitive head that I didn't know was buried somewhere deep, waiting to cheer on my child.