Tribute & 10 Lessons learnt from my daughter and the U13 WSG 2020 squad.
My daughter and her team mates participated in the U13 World School Games event in Dubai last week. From 14th position in 2019, to a phenomenal 3rd position overall (tied with a school) in 2020 out of 19 schools. They also came third in athletics and third in football.
- Failure is not falling down but it is falling and refusing to get up: After the kids performance last year they, didn’t give up but decided to come back home and put in their absolute best by training hard. Last year one of our star swimmers won a silver medal, he went back home and put in the work. This year he won two gold medals.
- Hard work pays off: These kids worked so hard. They woke up early sometimes as early as 4 am to get to school early to practice in school or at the National Stadium as early as 6am. Then practice again after school. They had weekend and half term practice even Summer & Christmas practice. They ate healthy, slept early. They were so focused. They still had to study hard for their academics as well.
- Love: One of the parents sent me a message that I’m raising a “a well balanced, love filled champion”. There weren’t any super stars, it was all about team work. They cheered each other, cried together, laughed together, celebrated together, prayed together etc.
- Team work makes the dream work: Team Spirit was on another level. For me this is the core lesson that I learnt and I believe God wanted the kids to learn. Most of the successes were in the team events as opposed to individual events.
- Support group: The parents where phenomenal. I remember when most of the roads in Lagos were being fixed and the traffic was ridiculous. My daughter was coming home at 10pm after sports practice sometimes because of traffic. One of her friends mum was kind enough to allow her to car pool which made it easier for us . Parents were highly involved. Going for training with their kids. Encouraging and cheering their kids.
- Learning to loose: When I was devastated that my daughter didn’t win her major events like the 200 meters final (that being said reaching the final is already an achievement on its now) & also the relay, one of the things God told me is that it is easier to win than to loose and that He was more interested in their character building than medals. Essentially it is actually easier to win than to loose and when you loose and loose gracefully you learn a lot more than when you win.
- Sacrifice : My baby girl actually started boarding house because of this so she could train harder and focus on school work. It was one of the hardest things for us as family. The week she went I cried so much but it paid off. She cried as well for a day or so but now said she loves it. It gives her enough time to train and rest after school and then do her homework. She has also learnt a lot of life’s lessons. God is also so intentional . Because the schedule was so tough we dropped the ball interms of their daily devotional but I was so happy to find out that in boarding house from 5-5.30 they have a worship and devotion session. God is amazing because at the start of the term He reminded me about the boarding house and I reluctantly obeyed. There wasn’t even space but they made room for her. Even though we miss her so much, she is thriving and for us it has also reduced the stress of school runs and given us more time for the other kids.
- Prayer: Ahhhh prayer works ohhhhh. The kids also learnt the power of prayer. For their 3rd place foot ball match, before the match, on their own the girls went to pray and God blessed their efforts with success. Also my baby girl came to meet me one day and asked me to pray with her. One of her prayer points was to be made Captain of the squad. So we prayed. God did it. Gosh I was so afraid to ask her about the Captain because up until they got to Dubai she hadn’t said anything and then she sent me a message saying “Oh great news, I did the Captain interview”. Yayyyyy I was super happy for her and a very proud mum. One thing I learnt from a spiritual sister, who is a mum from one of the opposing schools that comes first consistently, is the power of prayer and not just praying on the day but being consistent in prayer. The same effort you put in training and practicing should be the same with prayer. Actually you should pray even more.
- God provides: The World School Games is not cheap. This year we had two kids going. One for the U13 and the other U11. They also wanted us to go with them on the trip. Initially my hubby didn’t think it was necessary for us to go but my daughter wrote him a letter and it became a prayer point. My daughters and I prayed. My youngest wanted me to go with her while my oldest wanted her dad to go with her. In her words her dad is her coach. God answered and provided. My husband just decided it was the right thing to do on his own (Marriage lesson 101-take it to God in prayer lollll). We all went and it was such a beautiful experience watching your kids compete internationally. Truly God answers prayers and He surely provides.
- Parents are invested as much as the kids: I have to give a resounding applause to the parents. It is not easy at all. The schedule is huge and you have to be heavily involved. My husband was phenomenal. He would wake up early to get them to get to school early for training. He would get home late because he has to wait for them to finish on time. Weekends when He should rest, he would wake up and take them for their training and stay with them for as long as four to five hours sometimes in the hot sun. I went once and I couldn’t take it. As a former athlete, He would teach them techniques. Take them shopping to get their sports gear. Watch competitions on Tv with them. etc etc. The great thing is that it is a good way to bond with your kids. One of the reasons I also love sports for kids especially teenagers is that it keeps them focused, with very little time for distractions. The kids are aware that they have to use their time wisely. They are either training, studying or sleeping. It helps them stay organised. I love being a sports mum even though it can be stretching. I will advise parents to involve their kids in activities even if it is not sports. There are so many life lessons to be learnt.
I am super proud of the students for making us proud and putting their best.