The Dodgers Lost and I’m Blue

I’ve been a Dodgers fan my entire life, and it’s brutal that they lost the World Series. I didn’t bawl, but I had some moments of tearing-up. It has been tough.

I know that professional athletes are overpaid. They’re spoiled and self-absorbed. They cheat. They take steroids. Teachers should get paid more. Blah, blah, blah…I get it. Just save it for later. I’m not into it right now.

What I am into is the messages we can glean from sports and pass along to our kids. Of course, there’s the “you win some and you lose some.” “Only one team can win.” Etc. But I’m hoping I can take it a LITTLE bit further.

I work with tons of high-achieving high school students. They all want perfect scores on the SAT’s and ACT’s and go to amazing colleges. Of course, some will get into the schools they want, and some won’t. Hopefully, your kid will get into one of their choices. But maybe they won’t. And maybe their friends will.  Just as with Dodgers fans, your children will have to cope with difficult feelings.

If this happens, don’t go immediately into “fix it” mode. Just as the Dodgers players and owners will need to figure out how to improve, you’ll need to help your kids figure out what’s next. But give your kids a chance to feel feelings of disappointment and grief. These are emotional skills that are crucial to for them to develop and will serve them throughout their lives. More later on this…

Also you should give your teen the emotional space to experience feelings of anger and thoughts of “if only.” Just as Dodger fans are thinking, “If only their manager hadn’t pitched Yu Darvish in game seven,” our kids are saying things like, “If only the application process was different.” “If only someone else read my essay.” “If only it was fair, but it isn’t.” By letting them experience these feelings and learn how to work through them, we’ve supported the opportunity for them to grow emotionally.

Then, you can move into helping your kid figure out what’s next. Maybe apply to other schools. Maybe go to a local community college that has a transfer program. (Here in California, they have a program that guarantees students can transfer to University of California and California State campuses for their junior year, as long as they meet criteria.) Maybe take a gap year and go rescue sea turtles in exotic countries. Sharing what they learn on these experiences can help make them better candidates for admission.

A portion of this is teaching your child to be graceful and happy for others. Sure, plenty of Dodgers fans have taken the “if only” point a bit further and talked about how the Astros got lucky and they really stink. But taking the high road is a better skill to develop. It’s better to congratulate Astros fans and tell them they’re happy for them, and their team is fun, and the city needed the victory after the hurricane, than begrudge them. Even though your kid would be burning up inside from all the hurt and anger, teach them to try to be happy for their friends. Just because your kid didn’t get into Berkeley, it isn’t their friend’s fault that they did. Learning how to be a graceful “loser” will serve your child all the way down the road. After all, there will always be disappointments.

Earlier, I alluded to grief and loss. Throughout our kids lives they will face it. Ultimately, our kids will experience the death of loved ones: parents, siblings, friends, etc. Admittedly, the loss of the World Series is of far, far, far lesser significance, but by teaching and modeling skills of coping with the loss, we can help provide our kids with the experience of living with the inevitable. After all, they’ve got no choice…

For now, this father, spouse and therapist in bummed out but has put on his Dodgers t-shirt and has started getting ready for next year…

Until next time

3 Responses to The Dodgers Lost and I’m Blue
  1. chris sassetti
    November 10, 2017 | 8:12 am

    Great post. There’s always next year!!

  2. betsy Emanuel
    November 11, 2017 | 5:57 am

    Very touching article. Jealousy can just pop
    up but changing your thinking to a more altruistic mode will make for a happier existance

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