Posted on: February 18, 2008 10:32 am
Edited on: February 18, 2008 10:49 am

What would you do? I'm not sure (Part II)

I appreciate the comments from those who have responded to my question. I would like to add a postscript to the events that took place after the game on Saturday.

First, my niece is doing fine. Kids are pretty resilient and I think she was able to cope with the loss a lot better than I would have, and for that I applaud her.

Second, I noticed after the game that the coach from the opposing team approached my niece. I wasn't close enough to hear what he was saying to her, but it appeared to me that he was offering some nice words of encouragement. However, as I learned the next day, he was very unhappy with my niece because she elbowed his daughter in the closing seconds of the game. The coach took the opportunity to not offer words of encouragement, but instead to scold my niece, who was already feeling pretty bad about the loss. Suffice to say, his words didn't help Marisa's emotional disposition and they shook her up even more.

In getting Marisa's side of the story, the young girl apparently shoved my niece, who responded with the elbow. Now, this all probably seems funny and childish as you're reading it, I'm sure. I don't deny that my niece elbowed the girl. If Marisa takes after my side of the family, we've got fiery German blood coursing through our veins and we are very competitive.

However, what this coach on the other team failed to see was his daughter's original push. He only witnessed the back end of the play, which was my niece's elbow. But what this coach failed to understand is that things are going to happen in the heat of battle and, in my opinion, you let them slide off your back with that knowledge.

For him to single out my niece I think was wrong. If I would have heard what he was saying to Marisa, I don't think I could have been held accountable for the things I probably would have said and done in defense of my niece. Well, maybe I would have. LOL. Anyway, I would love to get your opinion as to whether this guy was in the right to approach my niece? Or, do you feel my niece was wrong to defend herself by throwing the elbow.

Category: General
Tags: Soccer
Posted on: February 16, 2008 3:48 pm

What would you do? I'm not sure

My 10-year-old niece, Marisa, plays soccer in a girl's league that takes place in Boca Raton, Fla. Her team advanced into the playoffs, but was eliminated following a loss on Saturday in sudden-death overtime. Marisa was the goalie who allowed the winning score to pass through the net. I don't need to tell you that she broke down in tears and was heartbroken following the game. I felt really bad for her and her teammates.

After the game, I was encouraged by family and friends to cheer Marisa up and give her an uplifting talk, but I truly don't know how to act or what to say to someone after a game ends like that one did. The first thing that came to mind is that my niece needed to experience a loss like that, remember how bad it felt, and then use it as motivation to improve and never let it happen again.

But, there's nothing that can be said in the short term to make someone feel better about a loss outside of allowing time to pass. I remember when I was a little kid, I can recall with vivid detail the losses that stung a little bit more than others. I can say that there wasn't anything anyone could say or do that would cheer me up or make me feel better. Being consoled just made me angrier and it always seemed so contrived and annoyingly condescending. It would typically take a day or two for me to recover and it was something I had to always work out on my own accord and timeframe. 

I'm curious to hear how others would have responded in a situation like that.

Category: General
Tags: Soccer
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