"What happened?" I asked.
The school is gearing up for sports day this Saturday. "We had hurdles practice today and twice she toppled the hurdle. She felt bad that she was not contributing to her house's success... But she had crossed it the third time! I told her to focus on that."
"That's nice," I said encouragingly.
The PT sir does not take the girls seriously - this has been my sports-loving daughter's complaint for long. But she used that to her advantage. "I told her that PT sir has no expectations of her. So when she toppled it, it didn't bother him. But when she crossed it, he was so pleased! That made her think!"
I smiled, happy about her insight.
"I remembered what you told me when I was upset two years ago with my previous PT sir, and I told her the same things."
"Oh really?" I was piqued.
"In football, he used to keep the girls in the background and I would get frustrated. But you told me that I must be alert and take every chance to prove myself even there... I told my friend not to worry about what the PT sir or anyone thought. I gave her tips on how to improve her running and how to compete only with herself, bettering her performance every time."
She elaborated this some more. "I told her to remember how she was when she was younger. She has come second in running and hurdles! I gave her tips on how to improve her performance by setting targets for herself."
That night, my daughter dug out old sports day photos where she stood first and her friend second and sent it by whatsapp to her friend to encourage her further. Her friend posted her own progress that evening in the team sports coaching she goes for.
Meanwhile, my son, not to be outdone, told me, "My friend also used to be slow and asked me for tips. I made four of them improve their speeds by setting time for them and giving them tips."
The two started sharing details of the tips - some of which they have learnt in Karate and have practiced at home, motivating each other to improve their timing.
I was dazed as I sank into a self-congratulatory mode. But their conversation brought me back to reality. I sat up alert. "Hey, if you share all the tips with your friends, they are going to defeat you in the races!"
"That's okay, ma," they replied in unison. "They are our friends. We don't mind their winning."
I felt they had won even without running...