My Kid Didn’t Get a Trophy + We All Survived: Lessons in Losing

We just wrapped up our first season with competitive sports. And by competitive sports, I mean: one competition at the end of the season. My daughter completed her first season as a cheerleader. She is seven. The other girls on her team are in first and second grades. They practiced three days a week and cheered in a football game each week for several months. And they did great.

All the girls worked really hard and improved tremendously each week. They looked adorable and had a great time cheering on the football team. All of these games and practices were really just leading up to the main event, Cheerfest: an all-day competition where the girls compete against other local cities in a Pom routine.

They practiced, and they practiced, and they did an amazing job on their routine. For 25 seven- and eight-year-olds, learning and memorizing a two-and-a-half minute routine was really hard. But they did it! 

The Big Day

At the end of the competition, when they were announcing the winners, our team’s name wasn’t called. Losing was devastating–not only to the girls, but to the coaches and parents as well. I was surprised when my own eyes welled up with tears. Trying to console your crying child when you are about to break down is hard! But no one said being a mom was easy. We reassured her they did a great job and told her they would do better next year. 

While she was disappointed, she eventually moved on and still talks about all the fun she had this season with her teammates and that she can’t wait to go out and do it again next year. Of course, it would have been great if we could have ended the season on a high note with a W . . . but it doesn’t always work out that way. Even though we didn’t win, I believe my daughter and her squad learned some valuable lessons. 

Lessons in Losing

By not placing or winning, kids learn resilience. They learn to get back out there and try again. If they want that win, they need to try again. If they quit, winning next time isn’t even an option. This will serve her well throughout the rest of her school years and into adulthood. You won’t get every job you apply for, so are you going to quit looking? No! You are going to polish up that resume and get back out there

After not placing, it allowed the girls a chance to reflect. What could we have done differently? How could we have been better? Sometimes, there is no answer. Maybe it just wasn’t their day. But by reflecting on their performance, it allows room for change and improvement. No one ever does something perfectly, and there is always a chance to do better. 

When they don’t win every game or get a medal at each competition, it makes the times they actually do win so much better. Everything gets old after a while, even winning. When children realize that the reason they won is because they put in the effort, that is when the real victory happens. 

Our motto with all sports is, “We won because we had fun.” This isn’t the World Series or the Super Bowl. These are children who have a whole lifetime to worry about winning (and losing). The younger they are when they learn the lesson that not everyone gets a trophy, the easier time they will have when they don’t get the W both on and off the field.

In motherhood, it’s more important to be real than anything else. Stacy also shares why it’s important to stop showing up as inauthentic in motherhood.


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