This past weekend, Geeky Girl tried out for an upper level soccer team. Although I’ve asked every year if she’s wanted to try out, she’s turned it down and I’ve been secretly glad because being on the team is as much work for the parents as it is for the player. This year, I didn’t ask, but she did. And so, we let her try out. Mr. Geeky took her and when he came back, his first comment was, “I don’t like this. It seems icky.” And then, yesterday, she tried out for middle school chorus. She’s starting to put herself up for evaluation for talents other than school work. I don’t feel as icky about it as Mr. Geeky does. In my opinion, if you can help your child maintain confidence, even in the face of failing to make a team (or a play or whatever), that’s a good thing. If our kids want to compete, they’re going to have to get used to the ickiness of being judged. They’ll have to learn to do their best without thinking too much about other people’s expectations. Competition can push them in that direction.
Mr. Geeky often complains that some (very few, actually) of the women he ends up with in his classes shy away from competition. Although his approach is cooperation over competition, he knows that in a field like computer science, you have to have the confidence to push your ideas past a lot of the guys. So it actually surprised me a little that he was for Geeky Girl competing in a sport she likes. Okay, some of the parents are hoping their kids will make the USA Women’s team or get a scholarship and therefore push their kids, maybe too hard. But we don’t have to be those parents. A little competition is good thing, right?