Little Victories

In December, we received the email from City Recreation. "There have been no volunteers to coach your daughter's team. If we can't find a volunteer, we'll be forced to dismantle the team and distribute the girls among the remaining teams."

Let me do a quick translation for you. "If you don't volunteer to coach your daughter's team, she will get less playing time and therefore the money you spent for her to get this opportunity to see if she likes basketball and has a talent there will be largely wasted. This, dear parents, is a chance for you to show if you love your daughter at all. If you don't volunteer, it will be evidence that you don't care about your daughter's well-being and you're probably not a very good parent."

Since I'm good at translating messages like that, I knew what I had to do. I volunteered. And since two of the games were on Saturdays when I had book signings scheduled, Travis volunteered to help me volunteer, because he loves his daughter, too.

If you read my blog, you know I love basketball. I have a good knowledge of the game and I love watching teams I care about. But I'd never coached beyond giving my kids encouraging pointers before the game, so this was a new experience. It turned out to be fun, even though our girls were outmatched in all but a couple of games.

The league was for 7th and 8th graders and our team was almost entirely 7th graders. We were also the shortest by several inches and we were playing teams with a ton of talent. But our girls were scrappy and enthusiastic and they never, ever gave up. We finished the season with only two wins, but I discovered something amazing. If we gave them something to accomplish, they finished the game with smiles on their faces and excitement in their step.

It was the little victories.

The score might not even be close, but if we set a goal to get ten steals in the second half, the girls did it, so they left feeling successful. If the goal was to keep a girl from scoring again, they tightened up their defense and did it. We had little victories every game and the girls left winners every game. Even if the score said we were losers, the girls walked out with their heads held high, because they'd reached their goal.

Life is full of opportunities to have little victories, but I'm not always great at recognizing them when it comes to myself. Some days I feel like a loser. I feel like I can't get this whole wife/mom/homemaker/writer/human being thing right. Why can't I set myself up for success the same way I set my little team up for success. Maybe I can't do it all right, but maybe I can give myself something smaller that I can accomplish if I try hard. And then even if I'm not perfect at everything, I can hold my head up because of what I DID do right.

Sometimes success isn't about being THE best at something. It's about being YOUR best. And maybe I don't have to be the best mother that ever walked the earth. Maybe today it's enough not to raise my voice when I'm irritated. And maybe I won't ever be the perfect wife, but I can be happy that I was a good wife. Perhaps instead of beating myself up that I haven't lost five pounds this week, I can congratulate myself that I exercised three times and only ate ice cream twice.

We'd probably all do well to take some pride in our little victories instead of beating ourselves up when we aren't the big winner.


Mindy said...

Love it!!

Mary L Walling said...

Thanks for reminding us to be the best we can be at the moment. That's what's important. Now I need to go and be the best grandma I can be at this moment. Love you.

LL said...

FABULOUS!!! I need to read this over and over. Every day! Thanks

missy said...

Good point. I like to think of myself as a glass-half-full kind of person, but all too often I focus on what went wrong. I like your way of looking at things.

Deirdra Eden-Coppel said...

I love your site and as I browsed your blog I decided to award you the Powerful Woman Writer Award.
I also love your cover "Gifted" and I was wondering if I could use it an an example of a "good book cover" for an upcoming presentation.

Go to and pick up your award.