My husband, daughter, and son-in-law coach an 18u women’s softball team. Last year was their first year coaching this team. The team consisted of some players who had played together and some who had never met each other. Throughout the year, the team had its ups and downs, its wins and losses. And when it came down to the final moments of the final game, you could see the strong emotions brewing in the dugout. For some of these ladies (many of whom had played softball since the age of five) this was going to be the last time they played competitively. It was a joy to watch them come together as a team and establish lifelong connections.
The parents of these ladies became very close friends by making connections and building relationships as well. In those final moments, I saw the parents sitting together in the bleachers, fighting back tears, as they talked about their children. They too were closing a chapter of their lives. Their summers would no longer be spent sitting in the bleachers, cheering on their children, and cajoling with the other parents. This time in their life was over.
Once the final out was made, the girls left the field to have their post-game meeting with the coaches. They sat in a circle for what seemed to be a very long time, and I could see tears being wiped away even from a distance. I’m grateful I had my sunglasses on because I was tearing up as well. The parents were then waved in by the coaches to meet with their 18-year-old children. My daughter, the head coach, said, “They don’t want to leave the circle. They want you to come to them because they aren’t ready to leave each other.”
As we approached them, the tears became even more apparent. You see, it wasn’t about wins or losses. It was about the connections they had made with each other and with their coaches. This group had spent five days a week together for the last six months. They had connected with one another, laughed together, supported one another, told each other jokes, and worked hard together. Being part of a group of people who worked so hard together to achieve a common goal and who spend so many hours together to develop skills isn’t something easily left behind.
As the crying, hugging, and picture-taking wrapped up, I reflected on the positive impact these connections will have on that group of women. They’ve built character, sportsmanship, strength, encouragement, and friendships that will last. They’ve gained skills they will never forget. They’ve created positive experiences and relationships that will have a meaningful impact on their lives.
What I have learned: It’s not always about the wins and losses. It’s about the connections made.
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Tania Farran is an educator, mom, business owner, and an author. Her blogs tell about balancing all of these things in life! Laugh or cry with her and maybe learn a thing or two.