"Bubble," Toil & Trouble

October Preview

All parents are guilty of it to some extent — we think our kids are the best, the smartest, the most athletic, and it stings when the world doesn’t agree. We’d like to shield our kids from cruel disappointment, though we know that doing so limits their ability to cope with life’s inevitable curveballs.

That’s the spirit in which I assigned “Failure Is an Option” a while back, not knowing how close to home it would hit. While we were prepping the article you’ll read on p. 18, my older son was put “on the bubble” for the fall ice hockey team. We knew this was a possibility: Ice hockey’s huge in our town — we had more goalies alone try out than other districts had players — and he started playing just this past spring, so he’s got some ground to make up. But when the roster came out with his name and one other boy’s in capital red letters, for all his buds (and their parents) to see, it hurt, big-time.

He took the news stoically as we waited while 80 other kids responded with their intent to play, but there’s no doubt the situation caused him plenty of stress, compounded by his first full week of high school and the application of an orthodontic form of torture known as a “power chain.” Four long days later, when we were finally informed that enough players had dropped out to make room for my son, he was still standing, relieved to have a resolution either way.

So he’s on the team, determined to erase any lingering doubts that he doesn’t belong on the ice. Even better, I’ve seen that my 14-year-old can handle “you can’t always get what you want,” served with a side of public shame I wish I’d been able to shield him from. When the next epic fail comes and sticks — from another team, a choice college, a first girlfriend — he’ll gut through and wait for a chance to prove himself, knowing that no matter what the world says, his mom still thinks he’s the best.

MK October Must-Reads

Categories: MK Memo