Mom’s Job When Kid Is Named Captain

November 30, 2010 at 2:36 pm | Posted in moms, Moms of talented teens, peer pressure, Self Esteem, sports | 2 Comments
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She’s the captain of her ice hockey team at ten!  What an honor and accomplishment.  She called all her relatives as soon as she found out.

What about me, her mom?  How do I react to this?  What is my responsibility?  What do I do about her sisters?  None of them were ever captains in any sport.

Of course there’s a bit of history here.  Jilly was invited to play up for the peewee team, not based on skills but more because the team needed a few more players.  I told the coaches of both teams I would decide which team based soley on what I thought was most important for my child.   I would not, under any circumstances, put my daughter on a team just to make it happen.

Of course Jilly was all swaggery when she got the news. She was oh so cool!  She was going to play up.   But the moment I had her alone in the car the first thing I said was, “I alone will make thie decision based on what is best for you.  I’ll listen to your ideas, but you will not make the decision.  I think at ten you’re too young to figure this all out.”

Since we already have a great relationship based on trust and respect she knew I was going to do what was best for her, not what was seem by others as cool or being above others. Cause what they think just doesn’t matter!

It was clear to me that giving Jilly another year as a squirt would give her more time to get basic skills, she loved working with the coaches of squirts, and she could really use a year as being one of the best.  Even if she didn’t have all her sisters with all their accomplishments, it’s so important to have a time when you are the best.  When the others look up to you. When you can help out and be a leader.

So squirts it was.  Until I heard from Jilly that they, the kids, would be picking captains the next week.  Then my head reeled. I’d been through this too many times.  Captains at ten chosen by teammates has had more negative effect than no captains.  My personal opinion is to have captains for each week.  They lead the warm ups for practices and game, shake hands with the refs, lead the pregame cheer, and lead the hand slap at the end of the game.  It’s a learning experience for each kid.

But to be captain for the season- now that’s a true honor and responsibility.  One not to be given hastily or lightly. One that most nine and ten year olds just don’t have the capacity to truly understand.  If there are going to be captains, the coaches need to be very able to choose based on the true value of the player, with complete open minds.

I talked with the coaches.  Explained my personal concern about kids choosing their captains.  And then dropped the bomb. I told the coaches that I couldn’t let Jilly participate if the captains were chosen by the teammates.  They nodded, said, “Hmmm, hadn’t really thought about that.”  Then I never mentioned captains again to the coaches or Jilly.

This past weekend was the third weekend of games.  I could tell the moment I saw the team come out of the locker room that Jilly had been chosen captain.  She had this look of control and determination on her face. She was in charge and going to make it happen!

I was certain when she and another player went over to the refs and shook hands.  And guess what – me who opposed captains- had a SURGE of pride.  That was my little girl who was captain.  And I truly believe she deserved to be chosen captain.

So what is my responsibility?  Isn’t that what I’m supposed to be writing about?  Well my responsibility is to help Jilly understand the honor and responsibility of being chosen captain.  That being captain is partly about being a great player, but more importantly about being a leader. About the team moral and focus.  It’s about good sportsmanship, paying attention to the coaches, guiding the other kids to do their best. When the game is tough and they are loosing it’s about keeping the spirit up and still trying their hardest.

Being captain doesn’t mean to fake energy or excitement.  It doesn’t mean to suck up to the coaches.  It means to have pride, respect, and leadership.  Being a skilled player helps, but it’s not what a captain is all about.  Even Mia Hamm or Kristine Lilly weren’t the captains of the US soccer team.

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2 Comments »

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  1. I am torn on this. On the one hand it gives kids an opportunity to step up and shine. One the other it leaves kids out and causes problems within the team dynamic. I think Captains in high school is hard enough for many kids to swallow. At 10 it is almost impossible. Your daughter is lucky to have a mom who stops and thinks about these things before just accepting the accolades. If you are interested in hearing my view on playing up let me know. I would love to talk to you about it.

    • Ann,

      Thanks for you input- Its a pretty hard thing for the kids to be captain at ten. And it is totally my responsibility to teach her her special role and to maintain it with dignity and honer, and still be happy totally lovin it kid.

      And YES lets talk about playing up!

      Do you want to talk here, on the phone, skype? Shall we open it up for more and do a conference call??


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