Look at you! My first-born in her first varsity competition! I have dreamed about this day since you were born… although I did not think it would come this soon.
You were so nervous when you found out that you were chosen, you freaked out and started crying. You started the dangerous game of playing all of the “what if” scenarios in your head.
What if I miss?
What if I do the wrong thing?
What if I suck?
It was funny to watch such a composed girl, a girl who I have viewed countless times score baskets in numerous situations, freak out about something that seems so trivial.
But then I remember how young you are. I often forget that. You have conducted yourself in such a way that it is easy for anyone to forget that you are a year or more younger than girls in your grade.
As you are traveling to the venue, I know you are nervous, so I am going to give you some advice:
• You are going to suck; embrace it – It is your first crack at some real competition. Newsflash: you may not win. The coach believes in you but understands that you are very green. You do not have a target on your back, so you are in a low risk/high reward situation. Just go out there and compete.
• Have fun in the moment – There are many who would love to be in your shoes. Next week, it could be someone else; but today, it is all you. Live in the moment, and everything will be fine.
• Take notes – There is going to be a lot of good athletes out there. Most of them have been playing this sport a lot longer than you. Take notes on the best or the ones that you favor. Look at their routines, study their approaches, emulate their techniques so that later you can make those same techniques work for you.
• Do not try to live up to any other athletes’ standard – As I said before, these athletes have been doing this a lot longer than you have. Don’t try too hard to outplay them. You are here to gain varsity experience so that you can learn the game at a different level and with a different pace. If you make this a head game, you will be terrible. Relax, slow down, and play like this is recreational. Winning is nice, but it is not the point.
• It is really about the small victories – Playing a sport that you just picked up 2 months ago is a win; daring to join the school team is a win; being chosen for varsity is a win. Enjoy the small victories. The big ones will come later, don’t look for them now. If they happen – great, but if they don’t, learn from it, count yourself fortunate, and move on.
Your mother and I are proud of you. And we cannot wait to hear about the day.
Now, go have fun.