I had to sit out today’s karate tournament because of the broken toe, but my daughter competed. As I was offering her advice and strategies, I suddenly realized how I must sound to her – namely, like a hockey dad. I apologized to her and told her that I don’t care if she wins or loses; I’m only passionate because I want her to feel like she did her best, and if she knew she did her best then she’d be happy no matter the result. I added that I’m just happy to watch her compete, and that I was proud of her just for getting out there.

I also bribed her by telling her she’d get a treat if I saw her rush in on an opponent at least once during her sparring match. Since she’s ordinarily a back-peddler during sparring, I figured I wouldn’t have to pay up. But after her opponent kicked her in the side, my little sweetheart charged in and chased her opponent around the ring for a bit, and for the first time I can remember, she came out of a sparring match smiling.

She didn’t win, but she did her best. That was good enough for me.

Plus, she enjoyed the 2nd-place trophy.