Tuesday, March 21, 2006

I'm Really am a Pussy Cat


Did I mention that over the weekend I was every coach's worst nightmare?

I've had to do a fair amount of advocacy for The Child over the years because of the dyslexia and all that but when it comes to athletics I've pretty much stayed out of it. What's to advocate for? You take the kid to practise, you show up for games, you launder uniforms and you go to the pizza party at the end of the season. Maybe you chip in for a gift for the coach, maybe not. Depends on how organized the other parents are. But that's pretty much school sports at the elementary level. And of course, because this is CYO, it's all about the fun and the teamwork and the opportunities. No yelling "Kill 'em!" from the sidelines or mixing it up with parents from the other team in the parking lot. Usually.

I've had some concerns about our Coach this year, that he plays favorites and doesn't competently judge the abilities of all his players. But I kept my mouth shut because God knows I wouldn't want to volunteer to coach a girls volleyball team. He gets credit just for showing up.

But 2 weekends ago The Child spent most of the game on the bench. It seemed a little unfair. I ran it by some coach friends because I don't want to be one of those obnoxious "My little baby, blah blah blah" idiot parents. They felt my concern was justified and supported my clever ruse of asking if The Child had been benched for bad behavior as a good, non-threatening way to start a conversation.

Meanwhile, The Spouse suggests that I'm over-reacting and should not say anything. (He often thinks I'm over-reacting He is usually wrong). But I decide to take his advice and wait and see how the next game goes. This is how it went:

The Child is a starter. A ball comes right at her belly and she can't return it. Coach pulls her out. She sits on the bench for most of the game. He finally puts her back in. Same thing happens. He pulls her out for the remainder of the game. Mind you, every other girl on the team is missing shots, missing serves, whatever. The Child is just the only one on the bench for having done so.

At this point, not only am I beyond angry but The Spouse agrees that I've not misjudged the situation. Add to that the other 3 parents who are wondering what is going on.

Now, emotional as I am, I know that any conversation with Coach is going to have to wait until I calm down because whatever his failings as a coach or even as a human being, it is not appropriate that I rip him a new one. The Child, meanwhile, sees slightly more action in the second game, including being allowed to serve (and scoring points, thank you very much). I calm down, slightly.

After the game I'm talking to my friend Alex, one of the coaches I'd consulted earlier. Actually, I'm venting. And he's being very sympathetic. Then Coach walks up and breezily says, "The Child played well today". To which I respond, "Yeah, when she was allowed to play". I then proceeded to open up a can of Mad Mama and give it to him.

To my credit, I:
a) did not yell
b) did not swear and
3) apologized for the fact that I was probably too angry to be talking to him in that moment but since he brought it up....

It was a fairly civilized conversation. I listened to what he had to say (some crap about how she doesn't always pay attention in practise and so doesn't have the skills that he'd like. I told him I'd talk to her about that. Then I inquired, "So every other girl on the team is pitch perfect at all times in practise and The Child is the only one you have a problem with?" He had the grace to say 'no'). As evidenced by the amount of time The Child played in the game on Sunday, I'm assuming Coach listened to me as well.

In the end, aside from the fact that I was just plain right and he was wrong, these are 6th grade kids, not professional athletes. Regardless of athletic ability or whatever, they all deserve a chance to play and to learn. Which they won't get sitting on the bench for no good reason. Now that this point has been brought to his attention, I'm hopeful that Coach will display a tad more equity for the rest of the season. If he can't do it because it's the right thing to do, he'll do it to keep me off his back. Either way.

Did I mention that the girls are still undefeated?

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3 Comments:

Blogger jpdc opined...

You so made the coach cry when he got home. Attagirl.

PS - I tried to do the egg trick last night. No luck.

March 21, 2006 2:22 PM  
Blogger Lorraine opined...

His eyes did look a little red and puffy the next day...

As for the eggs, it was probably a WTF reaction to all the snow.

March 21, 2006 2:26 PM  
Blogger Display Name opined...

Seems your positive thinking is paying off - you really are the best mom ever (Angela sheds a tear for barren spinsters everywhere) (;

March 21, 2006 4:20 PM  

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