Today's Tuesday Coffee Chat topic is simply this:
Get something off your chest.
This summer I am coaching Brynne's softball team with the help of my son-in-law Collin, Kyndal, and another parent. When I took on this team, it was at the request of the players and some of the parents. I had been the dugout mom of their team for the past couple of years and had coached one game while the coach was gone. I have been involved with these girls in all of their sports for the past four years. We live in a small town so everybody knows everybody and our paths cross often when it involves our kids.
Now, I took on coaching the team with some knowledge of softball. I mean, I played as a kid and have been involved in several seasons. But I am not a skills coach. Most of the parents, and kids, understood that at the outset of the season. Do you want someone ultra organized? That's me! Do you want texted reminders and good communication? That's me! Do you want cool uniforms? That's me! Do you want a good dose of discipline and encouragement? That's me! Do you want lots of team building? That's me! Do you want your child to have the best technical coaching of her life? That's not me, but I have other coaches on board to help with it.
We have had a good season so far. I love these girls! Our record is 2-3, with one of our losses only by one run. Every game I see the girls learning and improving. They are so excited to play. They listen and work hard. They treat each other with respect, and me as well. I really couldn't ask for much more.
But then there are the parents.
One of my biggest complaints with sports parents is when they don't want to take the responsibility to be involved and volunteer their time, but they want to tell you how to do it. They constantly ask why their kid isn't playing a certain position or getting a different amount of playing time. We addressed this issue straight away at the beginning of this season. I made it very clear that I wouldn't listen to it. I wouldn't listen to it out of the girls, and I certainly wouldn't listen to it out of the parents. The girls have learned that I am serious about that. A couple of the parents have not.
I work very hard to be as fair as I can in playing time. I sit my own kid out sometimes to be fair, even though she is one of the better players. But the fact of the matter is that we have a few positions that are critical and only a few select players who can adequately play them. All decisions I make are based on what's best for the team.
For the most part we get along swimmingly. But there are always those couple of parents.
In the game that we only lost by one run, I got jumped by two separate parents about their kids' playing time and position play. I was on a high after that game because the girls came from a ten run deficit and almost won the game! They played so great, and I was so proud of them! But all I could concentrate on the rest of the night was the negativity of those two particular parents. And I was mad. I sent a strongly worded text to all parents reminding them that all coaching decisions will be made by the coaches.
Since then, one particular parent has decided she is going to keep on keeping on with the complaints, questioning when we do or do not have practices, etc. It's been everything I can do to just take a deep breath and keep my mouth shut.
I love coaching these girls. But the sad part is that one parent can make a coach decide he or she is not going to coach the following year. When you are volunteering a lot of your own time for your child and other people's children, doing it all with good intentions, trying your hardest, and you have some jerk parent in your face because they aren't getting what they want? .... yeah, it makes me reconsider coaching in the future. It's not worth it. I try not to let it get to me but, come on, climb off my back. Or, I have an idea ... why don't YOU coach the team next year? Why don't YOU try to figure out how to get fifteen girls adequate playing time while also trying to win a few games, because you'd be the one bitching about all of our losses if I didn't consider individual talent and let us lose every game. Why don't YOU try thanking the coach for his or her time and devotion and love of your child instead of tearing him or her down at every turn? Or, how about you just sit down and shut up, thank you.
Yeah, I have needed to get that off my chest. Thank you for listening.