Tuesday, May 21, 2013

a lesson in disappointment

I hate disappointing people. It does not sit well with my soul.

As you may or may not know, I coach high school cheerleading. Last week we had tryouts and it is hands down the WORST day to be a coach. Especially, if you hate disappointing people. I think we all understand the point of, and have probably been through, tryouts – make sure the best athletes make the team. With cheerleading, everyone “plays.” There is no pine to ride, so not everyone makes the squad. As a coach and being the one to determine who stays and who goes, this is difficult. And those who don’t make it are always disappointed, and feeling like I’m the source of their disappointment is not an easy pill for me to swallow.

Take for example one cheerleader who didn’t make the squad her senior year. My heart breaks for her. My tryout process is extremely fair and I know that. It is not biased toward cheerleaders who have been on the squad previously, and I don’t choose my teams based on who I like or don’t like. It’s based on talent and is completely objective. But it doesn’t make it easy to tell a girl who has cheered for three years, that she won’t be returning for her senior year. That does not sit well with my soul.

And while my heart is breaking for this cheerleader, I am reminded of a similar situation that I experienced in college that has since served as a life lesson to me. I cheered in college my sophomore year, and I was trying out for my junior season. Up to this point, I had always made the team. I worked hard and always gave 100%, and I attributed my success to my personal commitment to always do my very best. To my pursuit for perfection. But on the last day of cheer tryouts for my junior season, the list of cheerleaders was announced and my name was not on it.

I was crushed. I had done my very best and, for the first time that I can remember, it wasn’t good enough. What a blow to the old ego. But looking back, I am thankful for the life lesson that not making the college cheer team taught me. It humbled me. There have been, and will continue to be, times in my life when I will do my very best and I still won’t make the team or get the job. But that hasn’t stopped me from trying new things, submitting my resume or still doing my very best. It hasn’t stopped me from pushing myself to do more, to be better. This life lesson has allowed me to grow and has taught me to always be humble. Because sometimes I'm not always as good at something as I think I am.

When I think about the cheerleader who didn’t make my squad for her senior year, I hope that this serves as a humbling life lesson to her. She is a hard worker and a great kid. And I hope that this blip on the radar of her life doesn’t stop her from always doing her best. I hope that it allows her to grow and know that sometimes we can do our absolute best, but it does not a guarantee us a spot on the team.

I can say with certainty that I will never be OK with disappointing people. But I hope that each of us can appreciate the life lesson that comes with disappointment. And I hope that each of us does not let disappointment or rejection stop us from doing our very best in all that we do.

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16 comments:

Stephanie said...

I hate disappointing people, too! It's such a hard thing to do. But, sometimes you have to.

Jamie said...

That's such a tough life lesson but definitely an important one!

Rachel said...

I'm this way, too- I hate disappointing others. If I mess up something at work, I beat myself up over it. I think with time it gets better, though!

Chelsea said...

That is the only thing you can do. Hope she continues to always try her best and continue to push, hope that nothing ever gets in her way. I had a similar thing happen to me, and defiantly humbled me. Had to teach myself how to have a drive and how to push myself after my goal.

Jordan said...

I really enjoyed reading this. It's definitely a rough lesson when you put 100% towards something and it doesn't work out in your favor. But like you said, such is life. Hopefully she takes it as a life lesson like you did in college and grows from it!

Gwen said...

It breaks my heart to see people disappointed, even if I wasn't the one disappointing them. But also, having been on the side of not getting the solo or the part in the play, I'd much rather hear the honest truth about WHY I didn't get it than just wonder if others were just better or if something else was going on. (Because not every coach is fair like you.)

Agnes Mayer said...

This is such a good post. I totally agree with you, we all need humbling experiences in our lives. Nothing has ever come easy for me. I have had more humbling experiences then i care to count, but they have all taught me so much. And when one door closes another opens. I just had another humbling experience last week. I entered a top mommy blog contest and didn't make the final cut. I was so disappointed. My husband reminded me that when one door closes another opens and that is so true. I don't know what is out there waiting for me.

My link up is back on and it starts again this thursday. Stop by my blog tomorrow for details and please enter my giveaway from stella & dot.

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Jordan Shaner said...

You're right that's definitely a difficult situation; however, rejection is important in a person's life. It can make you a better person, even give you that motivation or passion you had been lacking. Or if you never find that motivation, hey maybe that activity just wasn't meant for you, so instead of wasting your time on something you will "half-ass" you can go on to find your true passion! So, as tough as it is, you definitely made the right choice.

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My-cliffnotes said...

I think it's fab that you're fair about it!

Casey said...

I coached cheer for 7 years, and I always loved tryouts. I hated the "cutting" part of it, but I too was fair and objective when it came down to who made it vs. didn't, and the girls knew that.

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Ashley Foster said...

Feeling like you're the source of anyone's disappointment is never easy. It sounds like you do a great job and I think we all take something away from our personal rejection. I know if it wasn't for rejection and criticism I wouldn't be the person I am now, and I think the same applies for all of us!

Amy Shaughnessy said...

I tried out for danceline my freshman year in high school and didn't make it. I was SO crushed. It just gave me the fuel I needed to work harder for the following year. Maybe she will discover some new passion for this next year.

Amy


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