Medal of Participation.


Softball season is over.

It’s another milestone in my daughter’s life.

Even the Kids Who Can't Make the Final Game Get a Medal.

Each sport she plays seems to come and go so quickly (except soccer… which drags on… and then drags on some more).

I’ve said it before, time (and her childhood) are moving by at a breakneck pace.

And yet, I don’t seem to age.

Maybe it’s good genes.  Maybe it’s dementia.

When her last game ended, she was presented with the traditional Medal of Participation.

If you play… good or bad… you get a generic softball necklace (see picture).

This keepsake will undoubtedly get shoved into her bedroom drawer of abyss.  This means it will never be seen again (until we kick her out of the house and reclaim her room as our new office).

The medals are nice, but they seem so temporary (it’s possible many were lost on the trip home).

This isn’t how my generation was raised.

When I was a kid (the 80’s… or the golden years as I like to call them), winners were given trophies and everyone else got nothing (and they liked it).

Now we have to make sure everyone feels good about themselves.

Wins and losses take a backseat to feelings and self-esteem.

This has always seemed odd to me.  Life used to be simpler.  Twenty years ago you could easily identify who won the game.

Now everyone is treated the same.

Call me crazy, but there was something to be said for one team parading a gigantic trophy (usually plastic) around the field while the 2nd place team stood off to the side and cried their eyes out.

It was simple and straightforward.

If you wanted a trophy, you had to practice.  And work.

Then practice some more.

It was what made America great.

The people who worked the hardest got the biggest rewards.

But things are different now.

I’ve always felt it was wrong to reward kids simply for participating.

I don’t do this often, so pay attention.

I may be changing my mind.

Maybe.

Yesterday, I saw one of my daughter’s teammates at the grocery store (a full 48 hours after their last game and the awarding of the Medals of Participation).

Much to my surprise she was wearing her medal.

And she was very proud of herself.

Really proud.

Not because she was the best player or the team who won the championship (sadly, she wasn’t and they didn’t), but because she played.

She participated.

And she has the medal to prove it.

So maybe… just maybe… I’ve been wrong.  Maybe participating is more important than winning.

Maybe.

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Parent Nerves.


The Evil Spawn is growing up in all kinds of ways (and some are starting to make me terribly uncomfortable).

She’s aging (9 going on 27).  Her sense of fashion is evolving (heavy on the Bling-Bling).  Her sense of humor is getting slightly more sarcastic (must get that from her mother).  She taller (she’s grown 97 inches in the last 3 days).

I knew these would be inevitable.

She’s also growing up in regards to sports.

Not the Evil Spawn.  But it was Just 3 Short Years Ago.

If I’m being honest, I have to say watching little girls play soccer, basketball, and softball can be challenging.

Actually, I don’t mean challenging.

I mean painful.

It’s worse than watching paint dry.  It’s like watching paint being spilled.  Over and over again (and the girls spilling it don’t seem to understand any of the rules of the game).

She is now at the age where girls are starting to separate themselves.  It’s becoming easier to see the difference between the flower-pickers and the girls who really want to play (not that there is anything wrong with picking flowers…).

As a parent, I wasn’t prepared for this quick transition.

In softball, it’s gone from girls not being able to catch, throw, or hit to travel teams, expensive batting helmets, and pitching camps.

It’s all happening way too quickly.

I knew I wouldn’t be prepared for her growing up, but I didn’t realize it would all happen so quickly.

The bad fashion sense and smart aleck comments I can handle (and maybe even trump).

But I had no idea about the Parent Nerves.

This is a concept that I didn’t even know was a concept until this year.

Turns out watching your child compete in sports is much more difficult than playing them yourself.

I thought it would be fun, but I was wrong.  It’s less fun and more stressful.

When the Evil Spawn plays, I have this strange feeling overtake me.

If feels like I’m going be sick at my stomach (a nice way of saying I’m about to throw up all over my shoes).

The feeling is a combination of public speaking and riding a roller coaster (or spiders crawling up your nose just as you fall asleep… and good luck dozing off without thinking about this blog).

I really believed watching her would be an enjoyable experience.  Maybe even peaceful.

I envisioned myself being the proud parent who just stood on the sidelines and smiled.

Nope.

It’s nerve-raking and traumatic.

My last words of encouragement before she heads onto the field

… “Don’t embarrass the family name.”

Maybe it will get easier over time.

Or maybe, I shouldn’t have reproduced.

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Not Fat Enough to Float.


People continue to ask me about 2 things:  how’s Buddy the Dog and have I learned to swim?

My answers:  spoiled/sleepy and no.

The dog needs his own fan club and I still sink like a rock

If you are scoring at home, I’ve completed 4 swim lessons.The Hungrier I Am, the Better I Will Float.  In Theory.

That’s 4 straight weeks in a pool.  This smashes my old record by… well, by 4 weeks.

The good news is my coach/teacher no longer has the mortified look on her face like she did the first time we met.

I wasn’t exactly what she was expecting when I came out of the locker room.

She seems to have moved past the fact that I’m approximately 4 decades older than most of her students.

And I don’t wear a diaper.

At least not yet.

The look on her face has transitioned from disturbed to disappointed.

She’s done her best to teach me how to swim.

Sadly, her best hasn’t been good enough.

I went into this thinking swimming would be easy.

You jump in the pool, you float, you flop around, and you swim.

How hard could it be?

Turns out it’s kinda hard.

Maybe it’s easy for most people.

Sadly, I’m not most people.

She does her best to coach me up before I take off for the bottom of the pool.

She tells me exactly what my head, hands, arms, stomach, hips, legs, and feet should be doing.

She’s very specific on what I should be doing with every part of my body.

Then she says just relax and sends me off (turns out drowning isn’t that peaceful of an act). 

I get about 10 feet away and I think… “I’m tired… time to sink.”

And I do.

But just to the bottom of the pool.

I always stop there.

She thinks I need to practice between lessons.

I would, but I don’t actually own a pool.

Since all I can do in a pool is sink, it’s never really seemed like that great of an investment.

She said it would also help if I was bigger.

I said “Taller people float easier?”

She responded “No, fat people do.”

I think I’ve found my sport.  My calling if you will.

Evidently, I will be able to swim if I get fatter.

Seems odd.  One would think that fat people would sink more quickly.

But she’s the coach.  Whatever she says goes.

Time to go practice by taking a couple laps past the refrigerator.

If I want to be a great swimmer, I’m going to have to pay the price.

And the price seems to be ice cream.

This blog is in no way making fun of people who have weight problems.  It is completely making fun of my inability to do what every small child in America (or the world) can… which is swim.

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Good Coach/Bad Father.


It’s possible I’m not going to win the Father of the Year Award anytime soon.

Or ever.

Actually it’s not just possible, it’s pretty much a mortal lock.

It’s not because I call my daughter “The Evil Spawn” in a moderately well-read blog (although that certainly doesn’t help my cause).

It’s because I coach her basketball team.I've Never Read This Book, But I Need To.

One would think this would put me in the finals for the Father of the Year competition.

Actually coaching 3rd grade girls in anything should at least get me in the Fast Past line to Heaven (this would be a Walt Disney World/Religious reference… so it’s painfully obvious I’m so not a good person).

I’m trying to do the right thing.  I spend time with the Spawn.  I’ve taught her how to dribble.  I’ve taught her how to shoot.  She’s even scored several baskets (always followed by a slightly creepy celebratory dance she evidently learned from her mother’s side of the family).

I don’t mean to brag, but we’ve won most of our games (4-1 baby!!!).

It seems to me things are going pretty well.

Except there’s one small problem.

Or maybe it’s a big problem.  I’m really not fit to decide at this point.

When I coach her, I only see her mistakes.

And there are lots of them.

Again, I’m not really fit to decide this either (in fact, I really shouldn’t be around children).

I could write an entire blog about her inability to fight through a screen or be in good rebounding position, but then I would really look like an idiot (if you’ve never coached basketball please disregard this sentence as it probably makes absolute no sense… other than I’m an idiot part).

I expect her to play basketball like she’s taking a spelling test (stay with me… I have a point here).  I expect her to play an entire game and not make any mistakes.  None.  Zip.  Nadda.  And whatever the Spanish word for Zero is.

In my mind she should get everything correct just like I want her to do on a spelling test (I didn’t say it was a good point, I just said I had a point).

On the other hand, I recognize when her teammates make mistakes.  And that’s okay because they are trying.

As long as they try and do their best, what more can I ask?

Her?  Different story.

I’m not sure, but this may be a little something I like to call a “Double-Standard”.

By now, you are probably on board with my theory about not winning Father of the Year.

That’s okay because you would be right.  And just so my readers feel good about themselves, I’m about to reinforce this theory.

At our last game, we started the 4th quarter down by 6 points.  That’s not a big deficit unless you’ve seen 3rd grade girls play basketball.  Then you would realize it’s like being behind by 427 points.

Occasionally, our team struggles with “scoring” (as all 3rd graders do).

Basically the game was over.

But as luck would have it, our team battled back (in spite of my daughter… again, I only see her mistakes… I may have some issues and be in dire need of counseling).

With 37 seconds left we were down by 2 points, but we got the ball back.

I called a timeout.

This was the perfect opportunity to put all of my years of coaching knowledge to work.

I could diagram a play and we would win the game.

Too bad the girls were so excited they wanted to talk instead of listen.  Turns out during a timeout with 3rd grade girls, everybody has a story.  Or they are thirsty.  Or they need their shoes tied.  Or ponytails fixed.  Or they want to wave at mom and dad.  Or they need to use the restroom (who can’t hold it for 37 seconds???).

They want to do anything but listen to my ingenious explanation of the play that will win the game.

But this didn’t stop me.  I set up a play (or at least some controlled mayhem…). 

There were two girls I was comfortable taking the last shot.  Both are not related to me (the Evil Spawn is so writing a paper in high school titled “Bad Dad”). 

So what happens?

The play doesn’t work (who’s surprised?… not me).

But something odd happened.

The Evil Spawn evidently stay calmed and used her head (maybe we aren’t related???).

The Spawn scored to tie the game and send it to overtime (which we win!!!).

The crowd goes crazy.

A creepy dance ensues.

And I don’t remember any of it.

I didn’t even know she hit the last shot.  I have no recollection of it.  I thought another girl made the basket.

I was so focused on her not making a mistake.

It was only after the game when I realized she did something wonderful.  It occurred to me when other parents (no doubt better people than me) where high-fiving and congratulating her on the big shot at the buzzer.

Oh, it gets worse.

I not only missed the game-tying shot, I missed all of the shots she made.

Evidently, she was our leading scorer.  I had no idea.

I guess I don’t remember anything.  Except her mistakes.

 

I haven’t read the book “Good Dad/Bad Dad” (pictured above), but I probably should.

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Tiger Woods is a Mess. But So Are We.


I’m amazed at the number of people who’ve asked why I haven’t written about Tiger Woods.

My first thought… has something happened to Tiger? (for the uninitiated, this is a little something called sarcasm). 

We Hardly Knew You.

The truth is I haven’t blogged about him because the situation isn’t exactly funny or educational.

At least the good type of educational. 

There’s certainly a lot to learn.

I hate to say it, but I think as time goes by we may find out there are bigger issues that have caused his reckless behavior.

I may be proven wrong (wouldn’t be the first time… today… or well, any day), but I’ve worked in schools long enough to recognize when kids or adults act out in ways that are so out of the ordinary, something else is going on.

It could be drugs, alcohol, childhood issues, or who knows… but there’s something that isn’t quite right (I’m not a psychologist, but I’ve never come up with a theory that I didn’t think was pure genius).

I’m not making excuses for Tiger because no matter what, he is an idiot.

Maybe the biggest idiot in the history of mankind.  Lucky for him, another famous person will one-up his idiocy in the next few months (won’t the rich, famous, and powerful ever learn?).

Don’t believe me?

Woods has made President Clinton look like a man who has excellent personal judgment. 

The only people worse than Tiger are the ones around him.  For them to look the other way for all of these years is a crime in itself.

This once again proves my theory that all of us need to be surrounded by people who will tell us when we are wrong.  That’s a gift school administrators (and everyone) can give ourselves. 

Hire people who are smarter and better people than you.

Don’t try to be the smartest person in the room (and note to Tiger… you weren’t the smartest… by a long shot).

No matter how much blame I place on Tiger and his posse of doofuses, we are also to blame.

Parents, sports fans, and society as a whole. 

Tiger evidently has some problems.  And I mean problems besides running from his wife, writing checks to half the waitresses in America (and I’m assuming there are some overseas…), and having the entire world judge and make fun of him for at least the next 60 years.

I can remember when his biggest problems were drunk guys yelling “You the Man!” in the middle of his swing.

Our problem isn’t that Tiger Woods has disappointed us.  It’s that we continue to allow athletes the opportunity to disappoint us.

He’s human.

Obviously, very human.  Like a spoiled frat boy who has credit cards with no limit.

His fans (me included) believed his commercials.

We forgot those companies were selling us a product.  And Tiger Woods was the product.

When companies advertise, they don’t tell us the downside to their product.  They accentuate the positives.

Evidently, they REALLY accentuated the positives with Tiger.

He’s a golfer.

A very rich guy who can hit a little white ball.  That’s it. 

That’s the whole story.

He’s not a role model.

He’s not someone our kids should look up to.  He’s a golfer with terrible judgment (and a bit of a potty mouth).

If we want to watch him golf for entertainment, that’s great.

If we think his athletic abilities are an indication of his morals, we are wrong.  Those are two distinctly different things.

Our society overpays and overworships athletes.

This starts in grade school and goes all the way to professional sports.

Tiger’s priorities are out of whack.

But so are ours.

 

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Teach Your Kid How to Lose.


We need to stop.

Far too many of us spend way too much time teaching our kids to be “winners”? (for the record… I’m a big fan of the “air quotes”).

Everyone likes a winner, but I’m not everyone. I like losers.

As parents, we spend hours teaching our kids how to win. I’m starting to think we have it backwards.

I think we need to teach them how to lose.Life Was So Simple... And Then I Lost.

Winners are put on a pedestal, but I think losers are the ones who deserve our admiration.

This wasn’t the case when I was kid (back in the early 1800’s). I didn’t really have any interest in losing.

In fact, my first 4 years of youth baseball resulted in 4 undefeated championship seasons (if my memory hasn’t failed me… again).

Yes, that’s right. 4 seasons. 4 championships.

At that point in my life I was pretty sure I had it figured out. While I felt badly (a little) for the other teams we were crushing… actually, never mind… I didn’t feel badly at all.

What I felt was “I’m a Baseball God and You Losers are My Subjects and Should Bow Before Me.”

Some might take this as cockiness… and they would be correct.

As you can see, I had put little thought into the fact that I had teammates.

In my mind it was me and all me.

Life was good.

Show up. Go to practice. Win every game. Collect trophy. See you next year. Thanks for coming everybody and don’t forget to tip your waitress!

I’m not going to lie. It was sweet.

I was living the dream. At least as much of a dream that an 11 year old can live.

Things were going along quite nicely until year 5. Then we had a problem.

We didn’t win (notice when we won… all me… when we lost it was all “we”).

I don’t remember the exact details, but I wasn’t prepared to lose. Losing is what the other kids and teams did.

I’ve tried to erase the exact details from my mind, but I’m sure there was crying involved.

And possibly the sad attempt at trying to catch my breath while talking and trying to nonchalantly wipe the tears out of my eyes.

Turns out winning is easy. Losing is hard.

Especially when you’re not prepared for it.

Losing isn’t nice. It sneaks up and punches you right in the throat (maybe that’s what caused the man tears…).

This disastrous year 5 mega loss has haunted me for over 30 years. It has also resulted in my theory that we need to prepare our kids for losing not winning.

Winning is pretty self-explanatory. Not a lot of preparation goes into being a successful winner.

Losing is far more complicated.

And takes practice.

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Listen More Than You Talk.


This is NOT the Actual Bus.Newsflash.

Turns out there have been times in my life where I wasn’t as smart as I thought.

2nd Newsflash. This happens more than I would like to admit (some may even say daily…).

I was reminded of this a few nights ago when a former student/player stopped by to visit.

Personally, I wish all former students/players would leave me alone. Haven’t I done enough for them (oh, I haven’t… alright then…)?

They make me feel old with their college degrees, careers, marriages, kids, and the fact they have aged so much in the last 15 years (I’m glad I don’t look any older…).

This concept of former students is not working for me. The fact that their lives are moving forward is an ever so subtle hint that I may be getting older (lucky for me… I don’t respond to subtle hints…).

It’s really quite uncomfortable for me.

They not only make me wonder why life is moving so quickly, but they also have better memories than me.

They can recall things I said or did over a decade ago when I can barely remember which tie I wore yesterday.

This student asked me if I remembered a certain bus ride when I was his basketball coach.

My only thought was… I was a basketball coach?

But as he told the story it all came crashing back to me (and crashing is the key word here).

As we traveled to a game about 30 miles away, I required the players to be quiet. Completely quiet.

I told them it was so they could focus on the game. The real reason was I didn’t want to listen to them.

As we got about halfway to the game and came to a stop sign this player screamed something out from the very back of the bus. I wasn’t sure what he said, so I gave him my standard coaching response.

“Be quiet!”

Then he yelled again. I said “Be quiet!”

He then had the gall to yell something about a car. This really caught my attention.

I remember thinking how dare he talk after being told to be quiet. So of course, I screamed “For the last time, be quiet and don’t make me come back there!” I didn’t even bother to look back.

He knew I meant business.

Mainly because I yelled in my Don’t Push Your Luck Unless You Want to Run the Entire Next Practice Coaching Voice.

He got quiet.

Everyone got quiet.

The entire bus was quiet for the rest of the trip. But I did notice they were strangely restless.

When we finally arrived at the game all the players and cheerleaders rushed off the bus. I figured they were excited about the game.

Nope.

They were excited to get off the bus to see the damage.

What damage you ask?

The damage where a car hit us when the bus stopped at the stop sign.

And when the player yelled.

Turns out the first two times he was trying to tell me a car hit the bus.

The third time, he was trying to tell me…

…the car was on fire.

When I first started teaching and coaching, I had all the answers. Turns out I just didn’t know all of the questions.

Or that a car hit our bus and burst into flames.

There is a lesson here somewhere but for the life of me I don’t know what it is… oh yeah… other people may have knowledge that you don’t even know you need.

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Proof That Readers are Much Funnier Than I Am.


After I post a blog, I receive comments and emails from readers around the world (turns out poor taste knows no boundaries).

Surprisingly, most comments are well thought out and the authors have something to add to a blog.

But, I especially enjoy the ones from people who are borderline lightweight crazy. Don’t get me wrong, these aren’t from full-fledged standing outside my bedroom window, wearing snow boots and a top hat, smoking a candy cigarette through the mouth hole of a hockey mask crazy.

Although, it would be nice if these people also took an interest in reading more.

The one thing that most responses have in common is they are generally funnier than my original post.Not This is Funny.

This one is a great example of that.

It was written in response to my blog, “FORGET THE GAME, WATCH THE PARENTS“.

The author is Angie Bicknell from Forth Worth, Texas. She is working on her doctorate, which also proves that there is no direct correlation between the amount of education you have to your good taste in blogs.

But, we won’t hold that against her, or the fact that she was a cheerleading sponsor (I actually respect her for surviving that… 10 years… you are a glutton for punishment… and by respect I mean of course… pity).

I also feel a certain kinship to her because she uses my patented “looking busy” move (more on that in her response). This particular move has gotten me through a thousand awkward moments in public when I don’t want to stop and talk to students, alumni, or anyone else I am avoiding (the list is too long to get into here).

In my estimation, she is not only funny but a good mom. Also, I think this story should be printed on the back of every program at any event where parents gather to cheer, boo, scream, yell instruction from the stands, complain about coaches or referees, and form a tunnel so their children feel important.

Enjoy.

My son just started soccer (5 years old-played 3 games).

The first game he got hit somehow. I didn’t see it, just noticed him holding his face. We made eye contact (big mistake) and then – in the middle of the game-came running off the field crying.

I tried to push him back him (at this point my husband called me “cold-hearted.”) and told him he couldn’t just leave the field when he wanted.

The good news is that he hasn’t done it the past two games, so I think he got the message.

My husband and I are definitely in the first category. We hate the tunnel hand thing.

We refuse to do it. I pack up the chairs (look busy) to avoid eye contact with the weirdo’s who will yell at me to get out on the field and make a tunnel! Not doing it.

I love my child and everything, but isn’t actually signing him up, paying the fee, buying shorts and socks and cleats and taking him to practice and games every week enough?

I’m even willing to provide “snacks” (i.e.: sugar) whenever I’m told to.

I will not tunnel or paint my car or buy a fake soccer ball that looks like it busted through your windshield thing.

My son needs to understand that, while I love him tremendously and it’s all about him for one hour on Saturdays, the rest of the world does not revolve around him.

And-even more important- the outcome of the game will not be rehashed at home for 3 hours so he can “improve his skills.”

The author is quite possibly the smartest parent I have never met (hard to tell for sure, since I haven’t not not met everyone). You can read more thoughts by visiting her blog, Human Voices Wake Us.

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Forget the Game, Watch the Parents.


This morning I noticed something while watching my daughter’s soccer game.

It occurred to me that the parents are far more interesting to watch than the game itself. Of course, I had time to let my mind wander because my kid was busy catching her breath after running semi-hard for nearly 14 straight seconds.

She was alternating between grasping her chest and wiping her forehead. This sounds like I am picking on her, but this was during warm-ups.

For a moment, I thought she might get sick but then I realized that would take effort (in her defense before the game she did walk to the car by herself… while carrying her Nintendo DS… that is what we call progress).

She needed a break and the coach needed a player who didn’t think they were going to pass out.

While she got a much needed (in her mind) rest on the sidelines, I started to notice the parents around me.>Soccer.  I Just Don’t Get It.

And by around me, I mean the ones within 25 yards of my general area.

You see, as a highly trained school administrator, I know that the keys to enjoying an athletic event are: don’t stand or sit with the parents, don’t make eye-contact, and most definitely don’t engage anyone in small talk.

My wife thinks I am a loner. I have no idea where she comes up with these crazy ideas, but I wish she would get away from me (it’s a joke).

The thing that struck me about the parents was that you could break them into 3 distinct groups.

The first group would be parents like my wife and I. I am going to refer to them as the Observers.

They are at the game to support all the kids on the team.

They are thrilled that their child is participating and not growing even lazier by watching the Saturday SpongeBob SquarePants marathon.

They are not screamers. You won’t catch them threatening the referee or coach. In fact, they are probably ecstatic that another parent volunteered to coach so they can take a season off (that would be me).

These parents cheer for the kids and the good plays from both teams. In their eyes, athletics is a way to get exercise, learn discipline, and be part of a team.

Good hearted, hardworking, tax-paying people like myself (at least that is what I like to believe… they may be just stopping by the game before they go pick up water and beef jerky for their compound).

The second type of parent are the ones I like to call the Obnoxiously Loud Ones.

They are much more into the game than the Observers. They cheer/scream for the good plays and complain/scream to anyone within listening distance about the bad ones.

From time to time, they will yell directions to their kid (and by time to time, I mean every 3 seconds). They feel the need to share knowledge that they picked up from their time sitting on the bench when they played sports in junior high.

They don’t coach the team because that would cut into their time second guessing the person who is.

Usually, these are very nice people. They are very supportive of their children.

They want to win and if their team doesn’t, it is obviously the referees fault.

Nice people, but just like the animals at the zoo they are best observed from a distance.

The last group are the ones that worry me.

They are the Insane Ones Who Have No Concept of Reality.

If you make the mistake of striking up a conversation with them, you are in for 45 minutes of listening to “when they played” conversation.

They have very interesting stories about high school. Too bad, all of these things happened 29 years ago. Which isn’t bad, except nothing else exciting has happened to them since?

Ugh.

These are people who not only cheer for their kids and yell at the ref, but they live for the next game.

They have all of the qualities of the Obnoxiously Loud ones mixed in with a just a dash of Crazy (and by dash, I mean boatload).

They are excited. At the game. Before the game. Driving to the game (with painted windows on their vehicle). And at work 6 days in advance of the game.

They think about the game. A lot. In fact, all the time.

The love it. Sometimes a little too much.

They are positive their child will receive a full-ride athletic scholarship. Or win a gold medal in the Olympics. Or at the very least, start every game in high school, win numerous MVP awards, be
named Homecoming King or Queen, and get their picture in the newspaper at least 5 times a week.

They were legends (in their own minds) and the child will carry on this tradition. Just ask them (but, really don’t).

When you break it down, all parents fit into 1 of the 3 groups.

If you don’t believe me watch the parents at the next game you attend.

Just don’t make the mistake of engaging them in conversation. Unless, of course you want to hear about the game winning shot they made in the semi-finals of the JV basketball tournament in which they dominated in 1981.

I heard it was amazing.

Actually, I overheard it. Remember, I don’t get that close.

Especially after this blog.

LATE ADDITION: It has been pointed out to me that I have forgotten a 4th group of parents. The VideoTapers. They are the ones who miss out on watching every event that their child participates in because they are too busy trying to tape it for later viewing. Which brings up the question… who really wants to “rewatch” a 7 year old’s soccer or t-ball game?

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“Coach, Don’t Put My Kid in the Game. We are Trying to Win.”


The Agony of Defeat.Am I the only one who may yell at their child’s coach about too much playing time?

I always tell my daughter that it is up to the coach to decide who plays and how much.

I will never complain about her not starting or playing enough. I have seen these situations a 1000 times with parents and coaches. I will never ever be a part of this.

Coaches want to win, so I believe they will play whoever gives them the best chance to accomplish this.

So, you will never be able to include me in that group of pushy parents who demand their child plays more.

Now playing too much, that is a different story.

As my only child has started her athletic career, I have tried to teach her that pressure is a privilege.

It is an honor to be the one who is up to bat in the last inning with the game tied, the player shooting what could be the winning free throw, or the one playing goalie in the last minute of the game with the outcome hanging in the balance.

In these situations, maybe she succeeds, maybe she fails.

As long as she has prepared herself and tries her best, who really cares about the outcome?

Me, that’s who.

I want to win.

You play… to win… the game.

Sure, sportsmanship is nice, but it is seldom the lead story in the newspaper (or on their website… it is 2008 after all).

I want some payback for working with her in the back yard, driving her to practice, and shelling out all of this money for uniforms, shoes, participation fees, and hair bands (why can’t a girl get along with just 1, or 72… why do they have to have 643 of them in different colors with various amounts of sparkly stuff?).

With the game on the line, I don’t want to see her on the field or court.

The coach says he can count on her. He barely knows her. I have a long standing relationship with my child (began about 9 months before her birth) and I realize that she is a loose cannon.

She can’t be counted on… I have seen her room. She has failed on that simple task over and over. What makes the coach think she can perform with the game on the line?

She can’t even hang up her towel after a shower.

How can she be expected to make the winning basket, when she can’t get her dirty clothes in the hamper?

The coach wants her to play goalie and stop a soccer ball coming right at her head. She shrieks when a fly lands on her arm.

You don’t want her in the game with the pressure on.

At least I don’t.

It makes me nervous. Really nervous.

And it is not like she needs the experience. As if there is a full-ride scholarship to a Division I university in her future.

Best case, the truck driving school she attends will have some sort of intramural program.

The coach should at least be courteous enough to tell me before he has the brainstorm to send her into the game.

At least with some advance warning, I could go sit in the car or at least look away.

Turns out, I can’t take the pressure.

And it isn’t a privilege for a parent.

So coach, consider yourself officially notified. Do whatever you have to, just don’t use my kid.

Let some other parent sit there with butterflies in his or her stomach.

I want to win.

And you don’t want me yelling at you during the game about too much playing time.

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