By Kathleen Guthrie Woods
The coach was disengaged, half of the team hadn’t shown up, which meant our team was down two players compared to their opponents, and our girls couldn’t seem to make any progress toward the goal. They were being humiliated, and, by the half, my niece was beyond discouraged. No one out there that day would have blamed them for forfeiting the game, however….
As she came over to my brother and me on the sidelines, we had our pep talk ready, built on years, if not decades, of experience in disappointments and failures.
“Your teammates are giving 110%, they’re playing with their whole hearts. You can’t give up on them!”
“See it through, finish what you started. Get out there and do your best, and I promise you will feel proud of yourself for the effort.”
“Choose your attitude! Get in it to win it!”
As she jogged back out on the field and rallied her teammates, I wondered if we’d given her the right advice. Perhaps this should have been a lesson in losing gracefully? But what was done was done, and we watched as those amazing young women pulled together as a team, turned the tide, and won the game…by three points!
It was an awesome experience, one that I am so glad I was able to share with her. It was thrilling to witness her incredible triumph. And as I drove home, I reflected upon what the lesson had been for me. It wasn’t, “Don’t give up! Give one last miracle for having a baby a go!” I’m way past that. Instead, what I heard from the sweet, small voice deep inside me was, “Don’t give up on yourself. You have something to offer the world, so keep your eye on the goal and keep kicking!”
Have I been down, beaten, discouraged, humiliated? Oh, yes. Would anyone fault me for staying down? Maybe. But today I choose to get back up, and I hope you’ll get up with me and give it—whatever “it” may be for you—one more try. You—yes, YOU!—have something special to offer the world. Don’t give up!
Kathleen Guthrie Woods is a Northern California–based freelance writer. She is mostly at peace with her childfree status.