So you want to quit your team?
Things just aren’t working out like you had hoped they would. Maybe you were made to think one thing, and another ‘thing’ happened. Maybe the coach turned out to be a real turd, or some of the parents are mean and cold-hearted, or there was too much drama, or not enough coaching, or you just don’t feel like you (or your child) really fits in that well. After all, everyone as a niche, right?
Or maybe you want to quit because you have stumbled across a once in a lifetime NEW opportunity that may benefit your young player, and you just don’t want to pass it up. Or because you are sensing stagnation, and think that perhaps a twist, a higher (or lower) level of competition, more (or less) play is somehow a better option at the moment.
You get it! Thoughts about quitting a softball team are only natural, and brought on by a lot, (A LOT) of different reasons.
At the SIFG Facebook page, we get a lot of questions about whether or not people should quit and move on or stay where they are? The asking of the question in and of itself, tends to lead itself to a certain sense of unhappiness and discontent. By the time people ask US about whether they should stay or go, we tend to believe their hearts already know the answer – and that they are simply seeking approval.
Lets face it, any break-up – whether in a team relationship or otherwise, is difficult, and most of the time there is always at least one person hurt by a parting of ways.
Today, however – we are not talking about the reasons to stay. When kids talk about quitting (OR MOVING ON), or when FAN Q’s are asked about quitting there are always numerous comments about the dignity and integrity in “Staying the course,” about teaching our daughters to “Finish what they started,” and to “Follow through on commitment.” You know, the whole “quitters never win and winners never quit” mentality! And YES, these are important LIFE LESSONS (because softball is teaching life) that we have to recognize when it comes to softball endeavors. Kids and parents shouldn’t get all pouty because they aren’t starting a game, or spend two weeks on a team and get fussy because they aren’t winning trophies and just throw in the towel.
BUT….there is also another VERY important lesson that we have to teach our daughters. And that lesson involves self-advocacy.
It involves teaching your daughter to know the difference between being treated with respect as a player/person and not being treated with respect. It involves teaching our daughters to KNOW WHEN TO SAY NO, when to put away the guidebook circa 1947 from Miss Manners, and stand UP for themselves, for what they want, and for what they NEED! It involves teaching our daughters to know when they are being held-back versus encouraged and empowered.
Self-advocacy involves allowing our daughters to know, see, witness and feel the difference between people who lift them up and believe in them, and people who keep their sticky thumb on their shoulders at all times weighing them down (AND YES, this DOES happen in softball!) They will always remember how people made them feel, and allowing them to recognize these feelings will serve them well in adult life.
Being able to self-advocate takes courage. And when our little girls become young adults, they have to be given the right to act on how they feel (not impulsively or with rudeness, but after good hard thought, and sensible questioning from unbiased role models), and to be able to say STOP when something, even softball, no longer feels right to them.
Our girls, they are smart little creatures and they know how they feel without being told. You as a parent/coach/adult KNOW how they feel by watching them and seeing that sparkle start to slowly dull. So teaching them to push down these feelings, to always ‘stick it out,’ to constantly ‘put up and shut up’ sends the wrong message. And SOMETIMES, it is the small quit of one softball team than ensure they don’t quit SOFTBALL AS A WHOLE! And really, that is the goal. To keep as many girls playing as possible and to keep softball in their heart.
And when fastpitch softball becomes less than joyful, anything less than promoting love of the game in their life, wrongly stressful, not fun, or begins to tamper with their self-confidence and GROWTH, it is time to quit!
When you notice something that your daughter loves becoming something that your daughter dreads, its time to move on. And then quitting the softball team can be a Godsend, something you look back on later and realize that no matter how uncomfortable, or even painful the quit felt at first – how wonderful it turned out for your daughter.
Because so often, a different place can give a totally different perspective. And if adults would stop trying to control so many things that happen around their daughters softball world, they would realize that their daughters will likely end up in just the right place for them.
At the end of the day, knowing when to say W H E N, is a good thing.