Going for Gold…finale.

I didn’t have the opportunity to chat with her between the semifinals and the championship game. But I could tell by her body language that she was okay. Better than okay. A mom can tell these things. A dad can’t. That’s just the way it is.

I’d like to say a few words about her coach. This is the first year Lucy has played on his club team. But he has known her since freshmen volleyball. He was the assistant varsity coach Lucy’s freshmen and jv team years. But the coaches, of course, knew all the girls…watching and assisting in the selection of their future players. This coach and the varsity coach weren’t rehired for the next year, when Lucy would be playing varsity. Some issues between the head coach and the athletic director.

But this coach knows her very well. Knows her struggles with her mental game. He truly wants to see her succeed…all of the girls succeed…and grow as players in every way.

As the girls were finishing their warm up and he was walking off the court he turned to Lucy and said something. And she nodded her head and said, “okay”. No smile, no other reaction. She continued warming up. And I began to fret.

Time for the match to begin. The parents were PUMPED. This was our first championship game after weeks of potential…here it was coming to fruition. And we had just beat a team in the semis we have never been able to beat before. As the team gathered for their last minute pep talk, I was squirming in my seat…if Lucy sat this first game…what would her reaction be? Did she really pull it together in that hallway? How could she? She’s only a 16 year old girl? My baby girl. And I started to pray. Not for her to play, but for her thoughts, her negative self talk. That I oh-so-recognized and struggled with myself.

As the team broke and the girls split up, Lucy looked up into the stands and gave us a big old grin. And stepped onto the court. I relaxed a little. And as the game began, I relaxed a lot. She played with confidence. With her head in the game. Making an error here or there but recovering immediately and playing the next ball. Her jump serve was flawless. She made no serving errors and in the tie-breaker third match, she ran the score up 6-0 with her jump serve.
And they won the gold.

As I sat there watching them celebrate, I tossed up a questioning arrow prayer, “Why now, God…and why are we still dealing with this in volleyball, in school, in LIFE with her?” And His response…”Because it is MY plan, Susan. Not yours. And because YOU need to practice what you preach…pray unceasingly…about everything.”

One of these days, I’m going to get the Gold, too. Walking as closely as I can with Him. So closely that I bump into His shoulder every step of the way.

And that victory will be oh so sweet.

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Going for Gold.

The Man and I arrived at Lucy’s tournament around 1:30, just in time to see them lose a game. The first game they had lost all day. The parents, not so quietly, asked us to turn around and leave as we had clearly jinxed their winning streak. We were finally allowed a reprieve to see how the next game went…lol.

We won it. But Lucy had a melt down. And she was benched.

And then we had to have some drama in the hallway.

For those of you who have been visiting my blog for awhile, you know that Lucy has some mental game issues. She’s extremely hard on herself and when she goes to that place…she really struggles with her game. She had some bad plays, which in and of itself is not a big deal…every single girl out there makes mistakes. Then they move on. Lucy just can’t always move on. She beats herself up out there. I can see the signs. The coach can see the signs. So he pulled her. And then she had a meltdown on the bench. After that game, she wouldn’t look at me or talk to me. So I gave her space.

For a bit.

I intercepted her in the hallway. And I pinned her down and made her talk.

I would like to insert at this point, when dealing with teenage daughters…distraught teenage daughters, one must really know one’s teenage daughter in order to get the timing just right. Oh, I wanted to jump right in with both feet as soon as she walked off the court (see previous posts regarding my patience…LACK OF, that is). But I know my sweet daughter. So I waited.

I was anxious for her. Worried about her. Grieving with her. This is not about volleyball, by the way. This is about life. About being able to move forward after failure. About being able to reach deep, and by deep I mean UP, and know what is important, and how to deal with all of it.

But I’m weary of it, y’all. So daggum weary of this. And I knew that we had come to a turning point.

At first, she gave me excuses…

I’m just not enjoying volleyball anymore…I wish I had stayed with soccer…I just don’t like volleyball anymore…

I wish I could say at this point, that I had thoroughly discussed this with the Lord. But I can’t. Because I didn’t. I was winging it. And that is always bad.

Except for this time. He was definitely with me. I just didn’t know it. Until later.

I let her go on with her excuses and tears for a bit. And then I said, “Lucy…what is really going on. You can tell me. You have to tell me.”

She gave me the most incredibly painful look and then the floodgates opened and all the girl-words she had been holding in, hiding, struggling with just came pouring out.

And for each, God gave me the calm, logical and sensitive words to say in response. It had to be Him. I am anything BUT calm, logical and sensitive at these times.

In the end, I gave her two options:

“1. Get your mental game back on. Get your head together. And get out there and play or sit the bench…but deal with it the way you know you are supposed to…the way I know you can.

or

2. Pack your gear. And we’re out. And we won’t be back. Not to this team. Not to any camps. Not to varsity in the Fall. You decide, Lucy. And you decide right here…right now. I’m good either way. It is your decision.”

And I walked.

And in a made-for-the-movies-moment…the hallway was completely empty. I could hear the heart-rendering music playing in the background. The camera panning from the tear-streaked, mascara running face of my sweet baby girl down the long, empty hallway to her mother mentally beating her own self up with, “OMG…what have I done? Did I push her over the edge this time? Will she ever speak to me again?”

To be continued…