There is something wonderful and beautiful about watching your kids play youth sports. Sure its fun to watch them win. But there is something even more gratifying in watching them struggle, and then use what they've learned to better themselves along the way. That is part of the joy in coaching, and it was fun to watch as a parent on Sunday too.

My daughter Carly plays for the 11U Marion Magic volleyball club team. This is her first year. She loves volleyball so much. She bumps her ball in the driveway, and in our house all the time. She and her teammates had their first tournament in Anamosa on Sunday. The day featured group play before bracket play started later in the afternoon. It was a long day. The girls didn't fare well in group play. They hadn't played enough minutes together yet to play as a team. But by the time bracket play began, something happened. The shots that didn't work early on began to fall. Serves that were out suddenly fell in bounds. And with that came a powerfull thing called confidence.

Erica Jacobs

The girls won their first match in bracket play and advanced to the finals. They then lost but not before leaving everything they had on the court. It was thrilling to watch even if the end result wasn't what they wanted. Carly showed amazing growth during the day. She went from timid and unsure, to a player that was finishing at the net despite having her glasses blasted off her face a game earlier. Yes, it was a proud Dad moment.

Erica Jacobs

Now it's back to work. Back to practicing what worked, and getting better at what didn't. This amazingly fun day was the backdrop for the saddest story of the weekend. Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter dying in a helicopter crash that was headed to her AAU basketball game. Here was another proud dad going to watch his daughter do something they both loved. Playing sports.

So cheer on your kids. Encourage them to do their best. But most importantly be there for them. For the wins and the losses. Because we never know when the final buzzer will ring.