Today is a first for me and I’m really excited about it. I’m going to teach you everything you need to know about how to raise competitive girls!
No, not really.
I’m excited because I have a guest blogger!
And I get to be a guest blogger!
Eli from Coach Daddy and I are swapping places. We’ve got a lot in common…he lives in Charlotte, I love (and lived in) Charlotte; he writes a smart and funny blog, I laugh while I’m reading it; he’s a dad, I have a dad.
All kidding aside – you know you’ve found a blog to return to, as I have with Eli’s, when you laugh out loud, enjoy the photos and fall in love with the style of writing. Eli has a great way of wording things that is engaging, witty and wise.
I say wise because if you catch any of the posts in his “Go Ask Daddy about …” series, I dare you to say you didn’t learn something.Â
Please welcome Eli here, at “So, I’ve been thinking…” and when you’re done reading and commenting below please come visit me at his place, Coach Daddy, where I’m calling out bad behavior from the parents on the sidelines.
How to Raise Competitive Girls
Itâ€™s just a game?
When the ball drops or the tiles fall or the deck shuffles, my daughters, 9, 13 and 16, play for keeps. Usually, they take it out on other peopleâ€™s kids on the soccer pitch. Or the wrath falls on their siblings. With marbles. Wii games. Even Candyland.
To raise competitive girls takes the nerves of a lion tamer and the thick skin of an anklosaurus. It takes the good sense to duck when the balls, bats, or gingerbread men start to fly.
Competitive girls get a bad rap. They suffer from the mean girl syndrome, which tells us a girl canâ€™t fight like hell on the field or court and keep her good humor. But in the heat of battle (except for in Candyland), I see girls fight to the finish in a soccer match â€“ then hug their opponent after.
Let them battle â€“ even their friends.
My youngest daughter, Grace, is 9.
Weâ€™ll call her best friend Bailee. Theyâ€™re thrilled when they get to play on the same soccer team. When they do this for their school in three years, they will be double trouble. Grace once taught Bailee The Move. Itâ€™s less than savory. When itâ€™s done, your opponent eats grass.
Bailee turned it on Grace the moment she learned it.
They still hugged after practice. No hard feelings. Competition doesnâ€™t trump true friendship.
Until it does. As in, the day your bestie plays for another team.
The first time they squared off, they hugged, but just that silly shoulder hug boys do. Then they used The Move on each other many times.
â€œAgainst your best friend?â€ I asked.
â€œYeah,â€ Grace said. â€œWeâ€™re not best friends right now. But after the season, we will be.â€
And they were.
Let them stand up for themselves.
My oldest daughter, Elise, is 16, and hates to lose. She hates to back down twice as much.
She has a move we like to call The Dance. She shields the ball with her body and backs herself along the sideline against her opponent. Come left to tackle the ball from her, youâ€™ll meet her left elbow. Come right, youâ€™ll get acquainted with her right one. Either way, youâ€™ll get hip checked, then blown past.
One boy in a co-ed game rushed to her on the sideline many times, trying to undercut her before The Dance could begin. He met both elbows. Yet, he persisted.
I looked away for just a moment, and heard a whistle.
When I looked up, the boy was on the ground. Elise stood over him. The official pointed toward Eliseâ€™s teamâ€™s goal as the kid got up to dust himself off. He earned that penalty kick.
He didnâ€™t try and stop The Dance again.
Let them develop rivalries
Marie, my middle daughter, is 13. She has low tolerance for fear and high appreciation for things that invoke it. Especially when that thing is her.
She faces double- and triple-teams on the field, and takes home the bumps and bruises to prove it. Unlike her sister, she won’t put a kid on his keister to prove a point.
But she will put up a good fight.
She gives and takes motivation from her rival at school, Bela. The push each other at cross-country finish lines. They challenge each other in soccer practice. Theyâ€™re so much alike, and it irks them both. Their coach sent them on a free-for-all one-on-one match after one soccer ball.
Several minutes and a sustained scuffle later â€¦ Marie emerged with the ball. Both disheveled, ponytails loosened, arms bearing scratches and other evidence of battle.
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Itâ€™s not easy to raise competitive girls. I want them to have a tough core, and soft edges.
The tough core is easy; not so the soft edges.
We got a call from Marieâ€™s school last year after the teacher caught her cheating on a math test.
Why? Was it the competitive fire gone too far?
Turns out, she shared her work with another girl.
Turns out, the girl she shared answers with was Bela. Her rival.
Iâ€™d have given up pizza for month to hear that conversation as they walked to the office.
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