When your child wants to quit, there are a few things to consider before you say anything.
When I was a freshman in high school, my basketball team was small. In fact, it was so small that we didn’t have a freshmen or JV team. My coach was tough. He had high expectations and conducted physically and mentally demanding practices. I suited varsity, but only got in the last minute or two (if we were winning by enough). Essentially, I only had the opportunity to play in practice. However, I battled, knowing that next year could be my year.
The beginning of my sophomore year was different. It was a huge disappointment for me. I still found myself sitting on the bench, going in the last minute or so when my team was up big. The basketball season is a grind, and I don’t care what anybody says, winter sports (basketball and wresting) are the most challenging. The weather is cold, it gets dark at 4:30, it’s long, there are 3-4 games a week at times… it’s exhausting. The weak will not survive, and at that time, I was weak. I begged my parents to let me quit.
What I Learned for When Your Child Wants to Quit
They didn’t say no, but they gave me a condition. I could quit, IF I approached my coach and asked him about my role, and what I could do to get better.
Approach Coach P? To me, this was an absolute nightmare. I didn’t sleep that night. The entire school day, I didn’t hear a single word my teachers said, because I was so focused on how and when I would approach him. I decided in math class that I would do it after practice that night.
Practice flew by. It always seems like when you are dreading something, time races to the moment. I took my practice shoes off, put on my sweats, and walked across the gym to what felt like my execution.
Coach was sitting in his office, already creating a scouting report for the next game. I asked if I could talk to him, and as soon as I sat down, I started sobbing. I was thinking, “OHMYGOD OHMYGOD EMMA STOP CRYING,” but I couldn’t. My disappointment and self-doubt all exploded into a disastrous ball of emotion. So here I was, bawling in front of the man I feared most in this cold dark world… and I mean bawling, and do you know what he did? Coach gave me a huge hug.
He let me talk (at least through my sobs), and then he let me listen. He was honest. He told me that I wasn’t ready. I was too weak to be on the floor when it mattered the most, I didn’t work hard enough in the offseason, but he told me that I had potential, and asked me to stick with it.
I am honestly crying as I write this, thinking about how grateful I am for that moment with him, and for the guidance from my parents. I finished the season, despite a lack of playing time, and worked hard that summer. The next year, I played in every single game. I was awarded Honorable Mention All-Conference, and our team made it to the substate regional final, where I had 15 rebounds against IKM-Manning.