What Happens When You Don’t Make It

My daughter recently tried out for cheerleading at her high school. (She will be an entering Freshman). This is not a typical teenage passing fancy – something that just sort of sounded interesting. She has been preparing for this for several months now. She participated for several months at a competitive gym cheer program. She has perfected her cartwheel, round-off and is working on her back walk-over. They say that after the back walk-over the handspring will come fairly easily. Then for the past couple months she has been participating in cheer clinics to learn the cheers and dance that she would need to perform during try-outs. They also needed to hand in recommendations from three teachers. She has really been preparing for this!

Friday was the big day. The school said they would distribute letters (which they asked the kids to open in private). If the girls were chosen to be a part of the team they should come back to attend a meeting about an hour later. She did NOT get chosen. She was heartbroken. He was a crying mess. I don’t blame her. She had been trying so hard. And as a parent – there is absolutely NOTHING I could figure out to say to make her feel better.

But then trying to be level-headed I sort of have to say – this is good. She can put in another year. She can get that handspring. She can concentrate on the transition into high school (and maybe her grades – but she is a good student and has good grades already). My son told her to explore other sports (he also provided her with a list of all the sports she would be good at – love that kid!). And at the back of my head I couldn’t help thinking, “ok, well it is a good life lesson – she won’t get every job she interviews for or every promotion she’s up for.” And not to mention the amount of money that I will be saving! But no matter how hard I tried to convince myself that it was OK. I felt bad for her. No matter who else had a story of trying a second, third or fourth time (my sister and I both had to try out a couple times before making our cheer teams) it didn’t make her story any better in the moment.

Just when she was starting to put together a plan on how to go chin-up and try again next year…she got an email from the coach. A spot had opened up after all. She is in! Now it is a different kind of determination (proving they made the right choice to include her).

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