Thursday, January 24, 2008
A coworker, Shannon, told me a story today about her 7 year old son who plays hockey. He (Chris) was telling his mom about a teammate, Jason, who really wasn't a very good player. He was okay in practise, but not at the games. He was kind of a quiet kid and a little bit shy. Shannon felt that the child was probably nervous and a little intimidated during games and that might contribute to his poorer performance. So she told her son that he should encourage his friend when they were at hockey. Tell him when he was doing good job, help to build his confidence.
During a game soon after, Jason managed to score a goal. Shannon said he skated better after the goal and in the locker room after the game, her son praised Jason about his playing. "That goal was awesome! You're playing much better!"
I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall for that. How sweet that a 7 year old heard what his mom told him and used the advice. And how good must Jason have felt? Probably like a million bucks. He scored a goal and was then acknowledged for it.
When I was 11, I played little league baseball. I was the only girl on the team and one of two in the entire league. My coach (who at first wasn't too keen on having a girl on his team) and my folks encouraged me to do my best and have fun. To make matters worse, I wasn't a good player, though I could run like a bat out of hell. But I tried. I usually struck out, a few times I walked, and I never hit the ball to the field. Or the infield even. The only time I hit the ball all season, it was foul. But the crowd (okay, parents and siblings) roared. My coach was yelling at me "OK, you got a piece of it! Do it again! Do it again!" Man, I was pumped. And then I struck out. But that feeling of momentary glory has stayed with me for more than 30 years. I don't know if I played any better or tried any harder after that, but for one moment in time, I had the same feeling that World Series Champions must have. Or Les Nessman from WKRP in Cincinatti in the episode where he caught the game-determining fly ball. *sigh*
I hope Jason had the same feeling and is able to recall it 30 years from now with the same fondness.
Who have you encouraged today?
Picture is from Warner Brother's Looney Tunes Cartoons. Egghead Jr. playing ball with foghorn Leghorn.