Sunday, January 12, 2014

The Chess Stress..

A year has passed since I wrote this blog - http://heartuponmysleeve.blogspot.in/2013/01/the-chess-mess.html. (It was a time when chess was a game, not a contest.) After seeing my son's interest in the game, we enrolled him in a chess coaching academy three months back. Before we knew it, he was selected by his coach for a district level tournament. Since this was my first time as a mother of a competing child, I have to admit, I was unprepared.

A day at the tournament meant playing back to back matches throughout the day. It meant a tiring day for me and him. Most parents there seemed far more experienced in this. At the end of the day I won’t say I learnt much but I did observe a lot.

The hardest part was seeing a child loose; anybody’s. One came out, eyes down, saying he lost. One came out with just a thumb’s down. One came out looking out for her mom or dad with a look that said it all. It caused a pang. A parent consoled a child with an “It’s ok.” When the child came out victorious after the next match, the same parent gave a high five and exclaimed, “Yes, you did it!” I think children are smart enough to understand then, that it wasn't so ok with you the last time. I think, if failures are to be downplayed, victories need to be too, don’t you think?

Another dad amused me. Between every match he would take his son aside and bombard him with his '21 most likelys'. “If I move my queen to some x position, what will you do?”, “In some y scenario would you do the short castelling?” He just went on with his little U7. Needless to say, his son was a winner throughout. Is this what it takes to raise a winner? I simply can’t see me doing this. I thought taking your kids to a coaching class, guiding them when they asked for and taking them to such tournaments, was good enough? That's the difference between being an involved parent and a dedicated parent, one would argue. Unfortunately the way I saw it, the line between being dedicated and pressurizing was too thin. 

Another kid was peering into the iPhone that my son was playing during a break. His mom cautioned him not to. “Not now,” she said. “If I win the next match, can I play after that?” he asked back. I was surprised he didn’t phrase it like “Can I play in the evening?” Unlike my child, he was used to being rewarded.


That’s why I fear my little one will always be the average player who won some, lost some, and ate and played on the iPhone in between. And on someone else’s blog I’ll be the mom who let him be that way. L

9 comments:

Gaurav Kundarap said...

Anu, well written! You should talk to my parents about this, winning, losing, heartbreak, elation, they have seen it all. But I have to say that seeing all this around him, and going through it himself will definitely teach Kapil a lot about sportsman spirit and also create a strong g platform of understanding that you can then use to teach him how to play both, the gracious loser as well as the humble winner.

Anu said...

Thanks G. Oh yes, I will encourage him to keep playing and participating in such tournaments. I am just not sure if I can make a big deal of it and push him that extra mile. What if he has the potential to be no.1, but had to settle for no.5 because his mom (or dad) did not try too hard? And it fills me with guilt when I question myself back with a "Does it really matter that much?"

Gaurav Kundarap said...

If he has the potential to be No.1, and stops at No.5 because his parents didnt push him - sooner or later he will learn the importance of self-motivation, and that he himself is accountable for most of the wins/losses in life.

If he has the potential to be No.1, and gets to No.1 only because his parents pushed him - there is a likelihood that he will always need someone (parents first, then his wife maybe) to push him if he wants to achieve something.

Which of the above two would you rather he be? :)

mitali said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mitali said...

Very well written Anu. Completely agree with you. That part where you wrote that it is hard to watch a child loose, I must say you can say or write that statement only after you have become a parent :)I guess I will always be a Mom like you. I cannot push my child, I guess I 'lack the edge', but I think am always going to stay a parent who can encourage but cannot ever push the child!

Anu said...

I absolutely loved what you said G. It makes me feel so much better. And coming from a national level athlete like you, I know you mean what you say.

Indiann eyes said...

Loved it. G's take on it is great. I think there is one thing all champions (in life as well as in sport) are born with; and that is the killer instinct. You either have it or you don't. It grooms you and teaches you and picks you up when you fall, parental support or not. You've got to want it really bad; sometimes there is talent but no ambition. But the right kind of support and acceptance is crucial. I especially love those new Bournvita ads where competitive sports are the theme...especially the one where the athlete mom runs with the son and is elated the day he outruns her.

Sameer Dabadghav said...

he has learnt the game at the right age. at this age the more you (parents) are motivated and excited will translate directly to his motivation and excitement. so let him have fun with the game. in his case I think you as parents have more duties to perform than him. so stay motivated and don't get turned down by whats happening around... lastly don't get emotional yourself with the game since this might lead you to expect too many things from him. there will be a right time for that to happen.... so just enjoy.

Pramod Athalye said...

pl keep writing on your blog & guiding kapil at the same to whatever extent you can. By now atleast kapil has learn to take defeat in his stride & move on. had he won all the matches how much credit you would have taken & what would be kapil's share. It's like hand holding for which a finger is sufficient, full hand is not needed.