Thursday, April 5, 2012

Failing in Soccer and Survivor

Wait! Even if you're not a fan of Survivor don't click away!
There is a valuable lesson for everyone here ... not just Survivor or Mark Burnett fans!

In case you are unfamiliar with Survivor every episode concludes at Tribal Council (essentially a campfire where the team must choose by anonymous voting which team member they want to send home). 

In the second episode of Survivor: One World airing on Wednesday nights on CBS, Kat, the cute little blond in the photo is under scrutiny from her tribe mates about her poor performance at the competition.

Here is a transcript of her interview with the show's host, Jeff Probst.

Kat: It's my fault

Jeff: You keep saying that. Do you believe that or are you just being a martyr?
Kat: I think I do, it sucks

Jeff: What's upsetting?

Kat: ummm... my communication skills, I guess ... and ... failing. I never fail.

awkward pause

Jeff: You've never failed at anything in life?

Kat: I usually don't try anything else unless I know I'm going to succeed. Let's put it that way.

Jeff: So you really can't say you've never failed because the truth is you've never put your self in a position to fail.

Kat: Yeah.
Have you ever put yourself in a position to fail?
Think about it.

Have you ever consciously made a decision to try something that you pretty much know you'll be terrible at?

Probably not.

I mean who likes that feeling? Who welcomes defeat and frustration?
That seems so .... masochistic.

We work so hard to be comfortable
and safe.

But we never do anything amazing. I fear we'll never invent anything or conquer our fears or meet new friends or discover a new food/place/love.

My life is in no way similar to Survivor except that we call our large family a Tribe. It is for my own mental stability that I allow each kid to choose to participate in one activity at a time. With 5 kids there is just no way I can get everybody to everything. But I will commit to try to get each one to something if they want.
When the local YMCA sent home their latest flyer it had soccer, softball and volleyball programs. I encouraged my 7 year old twins to choose one if they wanted. They did. They each choose something different (oi!) and off we went to Bell's first soccer practice.

This usually vivacious daughter of mine was quiet on the ride to the soccer field. As we pulled into the parking lot she blurted out,
"Mom! I have bad butterflies in my stomach!"
"Good" I said, "that means you have a chance to be brave!"

She blinked her big brown eyes at me in utter faith. I know she was trusting me to tell her the truth. I kissed her forehead and sent her off, pony tail swinging behind her as she jogged away from me.

What if she hated it? What if she was terrible at it? What if she got hurt? What if this experience was a .... failure?

Thankfully Bell is absolutely enjoying the experience. She recently said she wished she had soccer everyday after school. We even went to the store and choose a pink and white soccer ball for her to kick around the yard. Will she be the next Mia Hamm? I don't know. Actually I don't care.
Maybe she'll be awesome at soccer or
maybe someday she'll try out and get cut from the team.
Either way, I am so glad, thrilled even that she put herself - at 7 years of age - in a position to try.

We might fail.

We might fall.

But God help us if we never try.

When have you put yourself in a position to fail?
Like this idea of failing? Then be sure to check out

- John Rogers, Creator/Showrunner of TNT’s Leverage.
“This is how the 21st century works: find something you love and love it to death. Just be you, be the writer you are, and put your head down…because, if you could sell out and it would guarantee success, then f*@# yeah sell out. But it doesn’t. You’ll fail anyway, and then you’ll feel bad about yourself. So just do the thing you love.”


  1. My girls play soccer, and I so love what it teaches them! Go Bell!

  2. Gee, thanks! I do love watching the game! Thanks for commenting!


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