So last weekend I spent three days in the Los Angeles Convention Center. Several hundred Club Volleyball Teams converged in Downtown L.A. for this Mega Tournament hosted by the Southern California Volleyball Association. Thousands of 14-year-old girls along with their friends, families and coaches flooded the Convention Center floor from early in the morning until late at night. The energy in the convention center felt a little surreal. It was a bit like being on the inside of a NASCAR track at a giant Chucky Cheese Pizza place with Taylor Swift in Concert. If you can’t imagine that, it’s O.K. I can tell you that it was very exciting, very fun and a little exhausting, in other words a perfect family adventure. We loved being there.
14-year-old girls bring a certain energy when they gather, connect and compete. This was a big event in a big facility with lots of talented teams hoping to advance and eliminate one another from the top spots. For some of our daughters, this kind of Tournament last four years and is called High School. The emotions at this tournament tended to surface with three primary flavors; Fears, Cheers and Tears. As dads these are emotions we need to recognize, engage and support if we are going to be great fans and great fathers.
Our daughters will need to navigate and negotiate new situations, challenging circumstances and face important decisions with uncertain outcomes. Our goal should not be to eliminate all stress and strain from our daughter’s life. Our goal should be to help them find their courage and their voice in the hard and scary places they are called to walk.
What do you need right now?
What are you telling yourself right now?
Take a moment, take a breath and find your courage, it is in you, I promise.
Can I pray for you?
Cheer often. The best fans and best dads are generous with their cheering. You do not need a Special occasion, an Epic event or a personal invitation to offer some encouragement and support. Cheer for your daughter, not just her performance.
I really liked how you…..
How did you feel about your contribution?
Where do you want to go after the game?
I love watching you play/participate
Thanks for working hard and encouraging others
Tears do not follow a schedule; they often appear unannounced, good dads lean in when the tears come. Words are not always that important or helpful when the sadness spills out on the surface. A quiet hug is usually better than some mumbling advice. Tears on the outside are always better than tears on the inside. Stay close, listen and wait, you are doing the most important thing.
I am so sorry
I love you so much
Thanks for letting me be with you
I am so glad to be your dad
Let’s listen, let’s love, let’s lean in. We have front row seats to our daughter’s lives.
There is no better place to be.
Grace and Peace,
Dr. Don Worcester