Probably does everyday and we do not realize it. But sometimes we realize it. We realize it now. Here is what happened.
Last year my son began making great strides wrestling. Working hard. Post season was the tournament for the mid Atlantic states. He made it past round one with 12 other kids, and the next round he got 5th. Only 3 kids advance. He was disappointed, but realistic. The kids beat him. They were better. A learning experience. 1 week before the tournament we get a call from some director in another state asking if my son was able to compete...a place finisher broke his arm and the 2 alternates before my son could not make this tournament on such a short notice. We were already going with my other son and had hotel arrangements and my husband had the time blocked from work. This was a windfall for my son who did not qualify. He was so psyched, and hit the mat more motivated than ever. Practicing and drilling hard. He ended up placing 8th. In the next year he would place higher....but that 8th place was his most prized win. He was such an under dog and got such a chance, it was the spark, and an example for all of us.
Now this same thing happened again this week! Another son started swimming this year. He always liked the water, but never had any instruction or lessons. As part of a rec swim team with many other kids he fit right in. He loved everything about swimming...and practiced and practiced and each meet improved so by the 3rd meet he was swimming for team points instead of exhibition. When the end of the season came he ended up an all star! During the all star meet he made one novice mistake after another...false start, missing the wall, bad turn etc.. He did not advance. We were disappointed but again realistic and could clearly see his competition was better and faster. But it was a good season and next year he will continue to improve. Then...the coach sends an email. The best swimmer on the team cannot make the finals in the relay and could my son be his replacement? Oh my gosh, I did not know my kid could smile that wide. So here we go ... he is probably the kid with the worst time in the whole meet..but he is giving all he's got. An opportunity for sure. And he is grabbing it.