Monday, April 16, 2012
Coming In Last, Feeling Like First
Max: Mom, did you see that I came in last in everything. But you know? That's OK.
This weekend, I got a lesson in courage from my 10-year-old. Each year his school has a track meet and all kids are encouraged to participate. Max was never interested—until this year.
As we talked more, Max went on to tell me that he realizes he’s not that great at sports. “I’m good at other things but I do want to try the track meet just to see what it’s like.” I love that Max realizes that he has many other talents. I also love that he’s branching out.
So on Saturday afternoon, Max gathered with his fellow 4th graders at McGuiness Field and the events began. He lined up each time, smiled and gave me a thumbs-up and took off. At the end of whatever event—when he came in last— he waved at me in the bleachers and always had a grin. As I smiled and waved back, tears stung my eyes more than once. I wanted him to experience success and win just one of the competitions. But why? He was having a ball, regardless of where he placed.
As I thought more, I realized that Max was experiencing success. He was trying something new, putting himself out there, maybe even knowing down deep that he may not win, but doing it anyway. I don’t know many adults who feel completely comfortable putting themselves out there but for Max, that’s what it was all about.
The last event was the softball throw and Max was up last. He threw the ball and his friends ran to him, lifting him up and cheering. Did he throw the farthest? No, but those sweet boys knew Max did something that afternoon that was new to him and they were proud of their friend. More tears from me. Then we piled in the car and sharing custard at fries at Freddy’s with his friends.
As we talked at bedtime, I told him how proud I was of him and that he taught me a big lesson. “Oh Mom, I wasn’t the best but it was my first time. I can try again next year. You never know, I may just get better.
I think he's already the best.