When Your Child Doesn’t Make the Team ….

When Your Child Doesn’t Make the Team ….

It’s one of the hardest things our children will go through, not making the team. It’s brutal, it stings, it’s heartbreaking. Sometimes it hurts us (the parents) more than them, watching them hurt, watching them feel disappointed in themselves. It’s the worst. I’ve even felt the pressure of wondering if it was my fault. Did I not do enough? Should I have pushed harder? Should I have started her earlier in lessons? (Is 9 months too early for private lessons?) When your child has her heart set on a dream and it doesn’t come true, this is a hard life lesson that, believe it or not, could turn out to be one of the most impactful lessons of their life.

When my kids were little, like most parents, I put them in many extra-curricular activities to keep them active, well rounded, and possibly find a talent or passion. We tried dance, gymnastics, cheerleading, piano, and even cooking classes. One summer before Junior High, my daughter asked if she could go to a volleyball camp. Sure! Let’s try it. And the obsession began.

She loved it, she loved being a part of a team, she loved learning the new sport, being athletic, and working hard to win. We supported this new journey by joining the recreational league, becoming die-hard fans, and obnoxious cheerleaders. She played all through Junior High, so naturally when it came time for high school try-outs, she was ALL IN. She practiced non-stop and felt confident going into the try-outs. It was a challenging few days, and seeing the competition took the wind out of her sails, but she gave it all she had. Unfortunately, we got the email that she did not make the team. She cried (we cried), she felt like her dream had been crushed. OH, THE HEARTBREAK!!!!

So, we did what all parents do. We motivated her to keep moving forward, by saying all the things… ”It wasn’t meant to be, keep your head up, keep practicing, try out again next year.” She wanted to pursue the dream, so we spent the next year taking it to another level, and she joined a travel volleyball team to strengthen her ability and get more experience. This would surely make her ready for next year’s high school tryouts, right? With this experience, we watched her grow in strength, toughness, and courage.

So here we go again, Sophomore year tryouts. She showed up again, she tried her best, and she didn’t make the cut (again). We prepared ourselves for a repeat of last year: the sorrow, the tears, the agony … but to our surprise, she handled this year’s loss much differently. She was more mature; she simply said, “It’s ok, it wasn’t meant to be, maybe I’m not a great volleyball player.” She laughed, we laughed, and we saw something I wasn’t expecting….. all of the things that she gained from all the practice and the experiences over the last few years gave her the strength, toughness, and the courage she needed to handle the disappointment (and having a sense of humor is a bonus quality that can get you through anything). She was truly UNBOTHERED and moved on immediately with her life, she even told us to stop asking her about it because she was moving forward onto other things. And she meant it.

She moved on, she refocused herself on school and things she enjoys. She unexpectedly found herself really enjoying a Law and Government class, which then led to joining a Youth and Government Club, which allowed her to discover a passion for speaking and debating that she never knew she had (we knew it because she would argue us down on the regular). She became such a powerhouse in this area, that she was recommended by her teachers to apply for a position on the Louisiana Youth Advisory Council at the State Capital. She applied and she got it! Out of hundreds of applicants and only ONE student from the parish gets the position, and she earned the position. She went to conferences all over the state and debated bills and youth issues and she felt completely and utterly fulfilled in her element. She was elected to serve as the President of this club her Senior Year. She discovered a passion for something that she didn’t expect. She now has a fire in heart for something that will last her a lifetime. This experience has changed the course of her life, and she wouldn’t change a thing.

Some kids make the team, and thank goodness for those kids; can you imagine a high school experience without them? The talent, the determination, the sheer joy and fulfillment of watching them do their thing. It’s amazing and beautiful and these kids deserve every bit of our admiration.

But some kids don’t make the team. Sometimes the dream changes. Some kids find a different route, an unexpected path, an unforeseen passion that lights their world on fire.  There is a place in our high schools (and in our world) for all these kids. We don’t all have the same strengths, talents and desires. And sometimes it takes heartache and failure to open yourself up to a path that is meant for you.

Sometimes you don’t make the team, and this just might be the best thing that ever happens to you.


Bree Miller
My name is Brianna, but most people call me Bree! I am married to the love of my life, Michael, and we have two teenage daughters named Krista (18) and Marissa (14). I grew up in Metairie, spent my college years trying out the different Universities around New Orleans, and finally graduated from Southeastern Louisiana University in Elementary Education. I have been teaching kindergarten for nearly 15 years and recently moved to a new 4th grade position. We live in Madisonville and are thrilled to be home after living in Alabama for 10 years. Our family and strong roots brought us back home where we belong. I absolutely love being a mom to my teenage girls, while sometimes a little tricky, being their mom has been the greatest joy of my life. Our family enjoys going to the beach, “grillin and chillin”, going to country concerts, and raising the wildest little fur baby that you’ve ever heard of!


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