Just Because You Know It’s Part of Life, It’s Still Not Easy.

You may recall that the sixteen-year-old plays Lacrosse. You may also recall that Lacrosse is the first sport he’s ever played. Ever. What else might you recall, if you just want a summary?

Well, let’s see.

Last year was his first season (March-May) of playing for his school, in his first sport ever.

Last year, in trying out for his first sport ever, he made the JV team. (Rah rah rah!!!)

Last year, he was told at the beginning of the season that he would indeed play his desired position (Midfield), but also be trained as a backup goalie.

Last year, at the first game of the season, which also happened to be his first game of his first sport ever, the JV goalie missed school due to illness, which meant he couldn’t play, and my boy played goalie that day. It was brutal, but outside of the 8-2 losing score, it all turned out okay in the end due to his great attitude, his team’s support of and enthusiasm for him, and the compliments from some of the people who watched the game after finding out this was his first time.

Want more details? Read this and this before going on.

Fast forward to this season. The Varsity coach, who also heads up our entire program, put out the word that only one guy was signed up to tryout for goalie. We have three teams (Varsity, JV, and Fresh/Soph). This guy is a sophomore but LIVES the game. He has lots of experience. (Same guy who got sick on the day of the first JV game last year)

Our son decided that he would go ahead and tryout for goalie.

“Really?” we asked. “We thought you really like playing middie.”

He stood firm. He wanted to give it a shot. We were fine with it, and encouraged him to do it if that’s what he wanted to do. He was the only other kid who stepped up to tryout for the goalie position.

Since he made his decision, we’ve talked alot about “what if” he makes Varsity and “what if” he stays at the JV level. Basically, it boils down to this:

* He really, really, really *wants* to be on Varsity (who doesn’t?).
* If he gets chosen as the second Varsity goalie (coach wants two for Varsity and one for each of the other two teams), he won’t play much because the other kid with way more experience will be the primary goalie.
* If he gets chosen for Varsity, he’ll get to work closely with the Varsity coach, who still plays on traveling teams as a goalie.
* If he stays on JV, he would be the only goalie and would play 100% of the time unless or until they train another guy as a backup.
* If he stays on JV, he would have a chance to be a real leader on that team, since he’d be one of the older boys, and in that position.
* His actual experience/play time totals are more in line with JV level; playing Varsity would up the difficulty for him immediately, and that’s alot of pressure.

Fast forward.

He tried out on Wednesday. I was there. He did pretty well! He made some really good saves, and got some great compliments when tryouts were over for the day. The coach was waiting on getting some information on rules regarding seniors on JV and varsity teams, and the distribution of the list was delayed. Agonizing.

When he left for school this morning, he asked me to text him if I got the list. I told him I would.

The Varsity Lacrosse team list was distributed via e-mail at 7:15 a.m.

The boy’s name wasn’t on it. Heartbreaker.

Another boy, one who didn’t try out for goalie, was in the Varsity second goalie position. Eek.

I had to, in order to keep my promise, text my son that he was still on JV. How ironic that his reaction to making JV last year was so extremely opposite of what I expected it would be this year.

I looked at the clock and thought that I might catch him with a call to his cell, as classes hadn’t started yet. He didn’t answer, so I started the text. He interrupted it by calling me back. I gave him the news and heard the air whoosh right out of his little balloon. I felt like I was giving him a big, sarcastic dose of “Happy Monday! Love, Mom.” Right?

I told him that two of his friends from last year would still be on JV also. He half-heartedly said, “Oh, that’s good…”

It was one of those things where he just had to be disappointed, and I had to let him. As a parent, it’s so hard to watch your child not get what they want, but it is indeed part of life. It still sucks.

In the meantime, I spent the afternoon preparing to pump him up with all kinds of Pollyanna-like positivity that he could go to when he was finished being a little sad. How great it’s going to be: he’s going to get lots of experience in this position because he’ll be the only goalie. He really will have a chance to be a leader on this team. I also found out, after talking to the President of our Lacrosse Club Board (I’m the Secretary and I called her for something else, but of course the conversation drifted!) that he will get the chance, if they develop a back-up goalie for him, to play middie as well: something he would NOT be allowed to do on the Varsity team. Also, the JV coach sort of fought for him because otherwise he’d be stuck training fresh blood. It’s not a totally bad situation when a coach fights to get you, right?

So, it’s bittersweet. We’ll all be over it pretty quickly; I agree with the decision: it really does make a lot of sense. And my kid will be fine with it too, once he’s guarding the net and he’s stopping balls all over the place. We just have to ride out the adjustment in thinking. It may be part of life, but it doesn’t mean it’s easy.

P.S. I wrote this earlier this afternoon. It’s now 6:30 p.m. He’s already reconciled it in his head, and is totally fine. 🙂



  • Sue

    When I was a junior and playing 3rd base for the softball team, I was given the choice of basically sitting on the bench on varsity or starting on JV and being a star. I chose to play. I had a fabulous year and led the team in homeruns and played ALL THE TIME.

    I think once the pain of the hurt pride wears off, he will be happy on JV.

  • Mom24

    You’re so right, at times like this it’s awfully hard to be a parent and just let them hurt. Glad he’s doing better.

  • WeaselMomma

    Things like this are definitely not easy, but they are growing experiences that will help him prepare for life in the real world where we rarely get what we want the most. It’s no consolation, but it is a good lesson in the long run. Best of luck for his season.

  • Melissa

    Ah, to be so young and easily process this kind of stuff. Me? I would have to worry about what I did wrong for at least 3 months 😉

    Good for him. I can’t wait to read the stories of him kicking some JV butt.

  • Jennifer

    UGH! These are the times when it is simply agonizing to be a parent! I’m glad he has reconciled this and is moving on. Sometimes I think when our childrens’ hearts break, it is more painful for us than it is for them!


  • Mags

    That is heartbreaking and I’m sorry for him. But with a Mom like you who serves up big heaping helpings of steak and ice cream…of course he’s already reconciled it in his head!

    Glad he’s got a Mom like you to teach him it’s not the end of the world.

  • Tom

    Poor guy. These are the things he needs to face, and needs to know how to use as motivation to keep pushing forward.

    He sounds like a great kid, and he’ll do well.

  • abritdifferent

    You are such a good mother. Really. I am sure it’s hard to stand back and watch your offspring go through this stuff and not try to intervene to fix it. It’s what mothers do best. I think the great part about this life lesson is that now he knows the BACK STORY on WHY he wasn’t picked, it all makes much much more sense.

    Btw, after all these years here, I still have no idea what a varsity team is.

  • Mr. Man

    It is tough, but I am glad that he is moving on. My kids are some years younger than yours, bit I got a taste of this for the first time with my daughter and a spelling bee.

  • Kat

    That must’ve been tough both for you and your son but he’s so lucky to have such loving and supportive parents like you.

  • nonnasnonsense

    i think the coaches made the right decision and i think he will have much more fun this way. he can get all the training and playing time this year and then maybe take over the varsity goalie spot next year. i would be very proud that the jv coach fought to keep him. that says alot.

  • Michelle

    Wow, that’s rough. I remember him playing goalie as an “accident” last year but I didn’t realize it was his first sport ever. ummmm how did that happen? How do you survive in the suburbs of Chicago and not ever play a sport? Fingers crossed he enjoys the season!