Friday, December 17, 2010

Talking about Losing

Last night we hit Public Skate. After the endless torture of being in skates and unable to play all last weekend, I had promised Stitch that I would take him to every public skate I could get him to this weekend.

Stitch galloped and jumped and cavorted, and then figured out he could do crossrolls like the bigger skaters. (Again, thank you Youtube for educating me and silly me for thinking that my kid had "invented" some new skating move.) He and a friend gathered snow on their blades and stuffed it into a cone, creating a literal "snow cone." I sneaked the finished product out of the rink in my jacket, and as far as I know it's still sitting in the plants outside the door. (The public skate manager is really nice but forbids kids making snowballs or snow things in general. She might as well forbid sandcastles at the beach.)

When we got home, Stitch and I listened to another chapter of The Cinnamon Bear before I tucked him in.

"Okay, Stitch. Saturday you and Coach are going to start working on the new program."
He did a comic *boink* look.
"Are you excited?"
"Good. The competition is at the end of January."
"I won't win."
"Oh? How do you know?"
"I just won't."
"Do you want to win?"
"Well, just skate your best and see what happens. That's all you can do."
"I won't win," he continues being depressing.
"Well, someone has to win, and someone has to lose. That's part of competing, and losing is OK. In fact, losing can be your biggest teacher."
"Fourth place, no. Third place, no. Second place, no," Stitch is counting off on his fingers.
"Stitch, do you hear me? Losing is OK, and I don't think anyone really loses in a skating competition anyway."
"I want to win first."
"Stitch, this is important. Listen; I don't care if you don't take first and you shouldn't either. What's important is that you try your best."
Stitch gives me a look. I'm touching on big concepts, and it's late.
"Think about which shirt you want to wear, and let me know," I try to end positively.

This is the only thing that nags me about competing. I don't know how he'll handle losing. Slowly, he's learning that small mistakes are OK. Hopefully he'll pick up that big mistakes are OK, too. But, as one of my Buddhist friends used to say, "OK isn't too far off from KO." Let's hope that I can keep us on the right side of the letter order.

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