My son got a penalty in hockey this past weekend.
It got me thinking about the whole playing by the rules and not playing dirty vs. standing your ground and standing up for yourself. Granted, in sports there are boundaries and rules that are there to keep us focused on the game and to not allow players to deteriorate into a bloodbath, but are there times when bending the rules to reach your end game (i.e. winning) ok?
I watch my son every weekend play his heart out on the ice. I also notice that my skinny little thirteen year old isn’t afraid of anybody! Sure, he may suffer from sometimes debilitating anxiety in other areas of life, but when he is focused on a goal and that goal is in jeopardy of not being met, watch out. He is fearless on the ice no matter what size the opposing player may be. He knows what he needs to do and he does it. In today’s case, he likely went a little far and received a penalty for his trouble (as he should have). What struck me is how tenacious he can be and how I wish that I had more of that sometimes.
I don’t play sports and I’m not sure I’ve ever had a really competitive spirit, but man, there are times in my life I wish I could have just stood up for myself and not worried so much about how I would be perceived. I’ve spent most of my life relegating my point of view to the back burner in favour of keeping the peace. Sometimes, I was made to feel that what I thought or did was clearly wrong and if that happens enough, you just start to doubt your own judgement and keep your mouth shut.
The older I get, I accept that I am a relatively intelligent human being who is entitled to her own beliefs and opinions and if handled respectfully, should be able to express them for the greater good. Sometimes that isn’t always possible with the people in my life, but at least I am looking at this with a new perspective. I don’t want to compete for air time or force my point of view down other’s throats, nor do I want to be bullied into backing down. This is a tactic I’ve been subject to throughout my adult life and I’m finding that it is working less and less on me (which is a positive thing).
My hope is to continue learning from my son and hoping that he is able to make smart decisions and stand his ground for the important stuff in his life. I want him to respect the differing of views of others and to not make people feel somehow less for not agreeing with him. As a parent, I don’t think I am any different from anyone else for wanting that for my kid.
In the meantime, I will continue to watch him make his way on and off the ice and hope to God he spends less time in life’s penalty box and more times in the winners’ circle.