Friday, August 18, 2017

The Meaning of Courage- Throwback Post to 2011

This post is one of the most viewed in my blogging history. It was stored on a blog that is no longer public, so I thought I would share it with you here. It was posted back in 2011 when my oldest was entering his freshman year of high school. I was and still am so proud of him. Life hasn't always been easy for him but he always seems to rise to the challenge in the end. Proud to call myself his mother. Below the dotted lines is the original post

"Courage is the discovery that you may not win, and trying when you know you can lose."
 ~Tom Krause

How many times in life have you not wanted to try something because the fear of failure holds you back?  I am ashamed to admit that it happens more often than I would like in my own life.  With everything in life there are drivers and preventers...forces that are either driving us and supporting us in our efforts to reach our goals or forces that act as roadblocks in our journey to realize our dreams.  Fear of failure is probably the most common preventer.  And courage, according to the quote above, is the ability to meet the fear of failure head on and try something anyway...even when you know the chances of losing are great.
He is going to look good in a football jersey, no?

In that case, I am proud to say that my son is a courageous young man.  Ty decided this spring that he wanted to try to make the high school football team despite the fact that he had never played organized football in his life.  He had so much going against him...he is light for his height (now over 6 foot tall at age 14 but willowy thin).  He had never played football before.  He was an incoming freshman.  He doesn't have an aggressive personality...

When Ty first told Brian and I he wanted to go to a week long camp the high school coaches offered for boys who were interested in the football program, I was shocked.  Where did this desire come from?  Didn't he know he didn't have a snowball's chance in Hell to make the team?  I honestly figured that he would go to the camp and decide that it wasn't for him.  He would see that almost all the other boys had been playing the game since they were 5 and he would be finished with the idea of trying out for the team.  So, off to camp he went.

But despite the fact that he was discouraged some days because he wasn't familiar with the lingo and the play patterns, he kept going back every day for that week, trying harder and learning more.  By the end of the week Ty had decided that yes, indeed, he did want to give it a shot and try out for the team.  I was shocked.  Really?  After seeing how far behind the game he was (literally, not just figuratively) I thought for sure he would want to try for something else, like soccer, that he had been playing since he was 5.

Brian and I both are supportive parents.  Who are we to squish his dreams?  It is our job to give support and encouragement despite the rough road ahead.   The only action to take was to support his decision, buy him the equipment he needed, and sign him up for the training camp that started the week after school let out.  All summer Ty went to agility and weight training camp three days a week.  He put his heart and soul into transforming himself into the best physical condition he could before tryouts.

This week was finally the week.  After a long summer of working hard and training, it was time to see if he could make the cut.  Football two-a-days began on Saturday.  Ty had to report to tryouts at 7AM and stay the whole day for grueling practices until 3 PM.  He had to wear the heavy equipment for the first time.  He had to learn the plays and how to be a good offensive player as well as a defensive player.  It was a huge learning curve for him.  After 4 days, the moment of truth came...cut day.  Would he make the team?

I sat in the parking lot of the school yesterday like an overprotective nervous mother.  I was shaking so bad it felt as if I had an earthquake starting in the pit of my stomach, tremors working outward to my limbs.  I was fidgety and twitchy.  I couldn't stand the fact that after all this hard work, commitment, and focus he would be called into the coach's office and told he had been cut.  It broke my heart to think about it.  I wanted my child to succeed.  I wanted him to learn that those who set a goal and fight for it win.  But you know what?  The reality is that it isn't always true.  Sometimes those who work hard are not rewarded.  Sometimes in life we still fall short despite our greatest efforts.

After an excruciating hour long wait, Ty came out of the high school gym.  He showed no signs of what the verdict was.  It was killing me...his slow walk across the parking lot struck fear in my heart.  His head hanging low, looking at his phone while texting was a sure sign he didn't make it.  "Crap, crap, crap." I thought.  How could a walk across a parking lot take so long...hours it seemed!  I started formulating a speech in my head of what I would say to make him feel good for trying....

And then he lifted his head and looked at me.  Our eyes caught each other's and a slow, casual smile spread across his face..."I made it." he said in the quietest, most calm voice I ever heard him use.

And at that moment those three words were the best words I had ever heard.  He had made it.  My son did it.  He set out to do something wild and crazy and far fetched and he had done it.  He made the high school football team that has gone undefeated for the past two seasons and he had never played one play of organized football in his life.  Holy crap.  He did it.  It took all I had not to embarrass him and scream and cry and jump in his arms like an idiot mother.  The pride welling up in me was so overwhelming, I didn't know what to do with it.  My boy did it.  And I am So.  Dang.  Proud.

Congratulations, Ty.  Not only am I proud of you for making the team, but I am proud of you for taking the chance.  Courage, my dear son, is looking that fear of failure in the face and beating it.  You did it.  You did it.  I love you, Ty!

~Your proud mama

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