And here’s another thoughtful thought from Sabrina Friesen…
I am mama to a sports fanatic.
My little guy learned his letters and how to sound out words by writing out the team rosters for the Blue Jays, Steelers, and the Jets. He’s learned how to Google search players and team lists, and spends countless hours writing out name after name. It’s super cute to watch him bond with his dad over Sunday afternoon games, and it is with much eagerness that he powers through all of his morning tasks so he can whip through the PVR’d game from the night before.
Needless to say he was a little bit excited about the Jets making it into the playoffs.
I know he was not alone in his excitement and enthusiasm for his team. He was quite disheartened by the Jets’ losses in Anaheim, and was hopeful that they’d pull out a win on home ice. Tuesday morning, while I was convincing his sister to get dressed so we could get him to school, I came into the living room where he’d wrapped up watching the Jets’ heartbreaking game 3 loss. The poor guy was sitting silently in a dim room, with tears streaming down his little face.
“I’m so sad the Jets lost, Mom. They really need to win next game. Do you think they can do it?”
I wrapped my best guy in a giant hug and we talked about how the Ducks were the best team in the division, and while it was possible for the Jets to win 4 straight, it was not super likely. Sigh. Nothing like dashing your kids’ dreams.
It was a similar scene this morning, complete with tears, as he wished his beloved Jets farewell for the season. Hard lessons in disappointment for a little guy, yet a brilliant life lesson – teaching my kids how to manage disappointment ranks high on my list of parenting goals, and this was a wonderful opportunity to let him practice that difficult feeling.
And while it was too bad to have the playoff run end so soon, my favorite part of this whole experience was this:
Now I’ll admit, I’m not a giant sports fan. That competitive gene is one I’m missing, but I’m a sucker for a good story. I found myself teary-eyed as I watched the Jets salute their team, in spite of a super disappointing run in the playoffs.
This moment was too good to pass up with my boy, and I took the chance to highlight how incredible it was that even though the fans were super disappointed, that they could still stand with and celebrate their team. They didn’t scoff and scorn and walk out sulking, even though their feelings might have left them frustrated and annoyed with how the Jets just couldn’t pull out a win.
No, in the midst of the heartbreak, they stayed present and cheered on their team.
I think that we have a lot to learn from Jets fans in how they dealt with disappointment. Too often when our feelings are hurt, or when we hurt others – one party turns away and becomes unavailable to the other. I hear it all the time with folks in the office, “I didn’t want to disappoint her…what if she gets mad?” or I hear of how one partner ignored the other when they didn’t agree, sending the message that “You have to agree with me or else you’ll feel alone.”
A lot of us have a hard time feeling disappointed and staying connected.
To the Jets fans who stayed and cheered: thank you.
Thank you for staying when you maybe felt like going.
Thank you for celebrating in spite of disappointment.
Thank you for showing what it looks like to stick with your team even when it’s hard.
I’ve never been prouder to be a Winnipegger.