I saw this today.
And it made my summer.
I saw this today.
And it made my summer.
Or maybe it’s stropshtuoy.
No matter how it’s spelled, it’s way more stressful than I ever imagined.
I coached for a long time.
Some people would say way too long (by some… I mean all).
As a school administrator, I’ve had to throw my share of over-zealous parents out of games for griping at the referees and coaches.
Or both (and honestly, if you’re about to be tossed out of a gymnasium in front of your peers you might as well yell at everyone).
My assumption was these people were insane.
Who gets so caught up in a child’s game that they have to be removed by a mild-manner kind-hearted person like me?
I was wrong. We are all insane.
At least when it comes to watching our kids.
It’s in our genes (in my first draft I spelled this "jeans" which is actually funnier).
It’s easy to lose perspective when your child loses. Or fails. Or doesn’t get to play.
I’ve known for a long time that The Evil Spawn’s childhood would not go smoothly.
I anticipated visits from the local police. Long chats with the District Attorney.
Neck tattoos. Numerous piercings. Fake IDs. Boyfriends 35 years older than her.
I knew there would be late night car chases. Liquor store robberies. And various other crimes that I hoped would always be misdemeanors.
After all, what kind of father would I be if my only daughter was committing felonies?
What I didn’t count on was the pain and suffering of watching her grow up and being effected by the decisions of other adults (not in law enforcement).
Evil, evil people.
No one told me at the hospital when she was hatched, how challenging this time of her life could be.
I had no idea the pain and suffering one has to go through while sitting in a lawn chair watching her attempt to hit a softball (by the way… there is NO WAY that first pitch was a strike!!!).
Life is bound to get simplier when she is 16. Or 17. Or 18.
It will won’t it?
Everyone has a tendency to see the world from their own unique perspective.
Democrats see it one way.
Republicans see it another.
It doesn’t make them wrong.
Actually, it makes both sides wrong and absolutely clueless, but that’s another blog (is a Moderate 3rd Party too much to ask for?)
Students see the world differently than teachers.
Young adults have different ideas and views than older ones.
It’s good to have diversity of opinions.
You see it in music. Every generation is drawn towards a new (and usually louder) style.
Every prom since 1900, parents have been convinced the world is about to end because of the inappropriate way teenagers dance (personally, I blame Glenn Miller, Elvis, Axl Rose, and Lady GaGa).
Of course, they’ve all forgotten how disturbed their parents were when they danced (little heathens).
But these differences are good.
They’re what makes the world go round (actually it’s love).
I see the same thing with parents and coaches.
They couldn’t be more opposite in how they view things.
And by things, I mean playing time.
Coaches aren’t perfect (trust me, I was one… in a life far far away).
They may not play the same players we would, but they believe they’re being as fair as possible.
Seldom are they not giving someone a chance because it’s part of a sinister master plan.
Parents see things from a different angle.
Usually the same angle they first viewed during childbirth (which by the way… wasn’t the most pleasant sight for me…).
They are locked in on their own kid, sort of oblivious to everything else (and all the other people’s children).
I came up with this theory (and thousands of other ones) over the course of talking to hundreds of parents.
I’ve yet to meet the mom or dad who is upset because the coach plays their child TOO much.
After all of these conversations about how a coach is ruining everything (i.e. college scholarship), I’ve yet to hear the following even once.
My child shouldn’t be starting. My child shouldn’t get so many__________ (shots, serves, at-bats, carries, receptions, goals, hits, spikes, chances, opportunities, etc.).
I’m still waiting for the parent who requests a coach who yells more, practices less, and pays little or no attention to their kid.
I keep thinking after all of these years, I will eventually run into someone who sees what the coach sees.
But it’s never happened and probably never will, but I guess that’s okay.
The coach shouldn’t see things the same way parents do.
After all, the parents were at the hospital the day their child was born and the coach was probably at practice.
And those are two way different jobs.
The victims, families, coaches, players, students, professors, and good people of Happy Valley will never be the same.
Especially after the hundreds of hours of trials we are all about to watch (this may make the OJ case look tame).
But there is something we can all learn from this tragedy (way too little… way too late).
We all think we know what good looks like.
We think we know what evil looks like.
The truth is we don’t.
Heroes and villains are very cut and dry when you are a kid.
Or at least they should be.
The white hats are good.
The black hats are bad.
But as we get older this gets blurry.
It turns out the world is way more gray than black and white.
This is okay for adults, but not for kids.
This is where the leaders of Penn State failed.
I’m sorry, allegedly failed.
If you work at a school, you have one obligation above and beyond your day-to-day job.
You aren’t there just to teach. Or coach. Or look after the finances.
There’s one job.
And one job only.
To keep children safe.
Everything else is extra.
Penn State failed in this regard.
They began to think their job was to have a successful football team.
And market a safe university.
And keep alumni happy and proud.
They forget their real job.
The safety of children.
At least they allegedly forgot.
There is a reason we are Mandated Reporters and not Suggested Reporters. I also wonder how much Penn State will have to pay before this is over. $50 million? $100 million? More?
What’s happening in school. What’s happening out of school. Who’s dating whom. Who just broke up with whom by text (welcome to what I consider an extremely bleak and odd future).
If you listen closely between classes, you could probably learn the true identity of D.B. Cooper (kids are smarter than you think).
Of course, most of the stuff I overhear from kids makes me say “Huh?”.
Which is a whole lot better than the things I overhear that make me say “Eww.”
The key is to listen, but not listen too closely (How to Be a School Administrator 101).
Once in a while, I feel like my time in the hallway is extra productive.
These are the times when I gain real tidbits of knowledge.
It could be from a student or a teacher. But there are definitely things said that make me smarter.
Some might argue this isn’t too difficult.
I would tend to agree.
One day in the not so distant past, I asked a coach if he was actually a teacher during the day, or simply a coach waiting for his next game to begin.
Without hesitating, he said he was a teacher who coaches, not a coach who teaches.
I thought that was a great answer. Especially, since he didn’t hesitate (plus, he seemed a little annoyed… which is a good sign).
Then he said something that made me smarter.
He said “Instead of asking about what I do during the day, maybe you should be asking what other teachers do after 3:30 to make kids better.”
Coaches commit hours to students after school and on weekends (as do other teachers).
He made a good point.
It’s not good enough that we just give our best during the school day.
The teaching profession is becoming more and more of a 24 hour a day job.
Whether we like it or not, we have to do more for students to help them be successful.
Which means, all of us have to not only give our best during the school day, but also after 3:30.
The following are Hockey Canada Public Service Announcements.
They should be required viewing by parents.
And it wouldn’t hurt coaches to watch.
Because nothing brings out the “Idiot Gene” like athletics (or any extracurricular).
It’s amazing how silly these comments seem coming out of kid’s mouths.
Softball season is over.
It’s another milestone in my daughter’s life.
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.
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.
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.
And she has the medal to prove it.
So maybe… just maybe… I’ve been wrong. Maybe participating is more important than winning.
Coach John Wooden has passed away at the age of 99 (1910-2010).
He is considered to be one of the greatest basketball coaches of all-time.
More importantly, he is considered to be one of the greatest teachers of all-time.
Sometimes great teaching takes place in a classroom. Sometimes it takes place on an athletic field (or court).
Both take exactly the same gift.
After his coaching career ended, he said, "I have not for one moment regretted retiring from my teaching position at UCLA. I use the word teacher purposely, because I’ve always considered a coach to be a teacher."
Here is a list of some of his other "Woodenisms."
"Never mistake activity for achievement."
"Adversity is the state in which man mostly easily becomes acquainted with himself, being especially free of admirers then."
"Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are."
"Be prepared and be honest."
"You can’t let praise or criticism get to you. It’s a weakness to get caught up in either one."
"You can’t live a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you."
"What you are as a person is far more important that what you are as a basketball player."
"Winning takes talent, to repeat takes character."
"A coach is someone who can give correction without causing resentment."
"I’d rather have a lot of talent and a little experience than a lot of experience and a little talent."
"If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?"
"If you’re not making mistakes, then you’re not doing anything. I’m positive that a doer makes mistakes."
"It isn’t what you do, but how you do it."
"Ability is a poor man’s wealth."
"Failure is not fatal, but failure to change might be."
"Consider the rights of others before your own feelings, and the feelings of others before your own rights."
"Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do."
"Don’t measure yourself by what you have accomplished, but by what you should have accomplished with your ability."
"It’s not so important who starts the game but who finishes it."
"It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts."
"It’s the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen."
"Talent is God given. Be humble. Fame is man-given. Be grateful. Conceit is self-given. Be careful."
"The main ingredient of stardom is the rest of the team."
"Success comes from knowing that you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming."
"Success is never final, failure is never fatal. It’s courage that counts."
Actually there is more to this blog than just the title, but there doesn’t have to be.
Seniors don’t have a clue.
This is painfully obvious to just about everyone (especially their parents).
Everyone recognizes this fact, but the Seniors.
They think they have it all figured out.
Actually, they know they have it all figured out (if you don’t believe me, just ask them)
The only thing holding them back are those annoying adults. Those people who surround them with only one purpose…to tell them what to do and how to act.
Who are “those people”? Teachers, administrators, coaches, mom, dad, and every other old person they’ve encountered since they first stepped foot in kindergarten.
All of those people with their annoying advice, experience, and perspective.
Constantly trying to warn them about the challenges life has in store for them. Trying to alert them that the world is about to smack them upside the head (and Seniors… consider yourself lucky if you only get hit in the head…). Trying to tell them life gets more complicated after high school, not less (sad, but true).
Seniors don’t want to hear it.
They don’t want anymore advice.
They don’t want to hear any more stories about how life used to be “in the good old days”.
Enough with the guidance.
They want out.
Out of high school. Out of their houses. Out of the towns they grew up in (no matter how big that town may be… it’s still too small and there’s nothing to do).
They want sweet sweet freedom.
And they want it 6 months ago.
They want to make their own decisions and be in charge of their own destinies.
As we established earlier, they have all the answers.
What they haven’t figured out (yet) is they don’t know any of the questions.
I feel relatively confident speaking about this phenomenon because I was once a Senior. Man was I stupid (and by stupid, I mean more stupid than now).
The Evil Spawn is 9 years old (at least today she is 9… when I wake up tomorrow she will be 27).
During this stage of her life, I am required to be somewhere watching her do something at least 3 nights a week.
Different seasons bring different sports.
Sometimes I coach.
Sometimes I get lucky and don’t have to coach.
Summer means softball.
It also means I’m not that lucky.
Every practice presents a new challenge.
One night it’s parents. Another night it might be me spending 30 minutes trying to figure out why half the girls didn’t bring gloves (yet they NEVER forget their pink helmets, pink batting gloves, and pink shoes).
On a bad night I might stand in the outfield and wonder how mosquitoes get as big as cats.
Normally, I just wonder why I agreed to coach.
Coaching little girls must be similar to childbirth.
A few months after the painful parts, your mind goes blank and you forget what a horrific experience it was.
But it’s not all bad.
Once in a while something happens and I’m thankful I was there to see it.
Or hear it.
I told a young lady to go play first base.
She was so excited.
She pointed and said, “Last year they (coaches) never let me play here!”
I said, “First base?”
“No”, she said, “On the dust.”
“On the dust?”, I responded.
“Yes, here on the dust” as she pointed to the ground.
Then I got it.
She never got to play in the infield.
Or now as it’s known.
Coaching is fun.
At least until the next labor pain.
While this site operates with the knowledge and awareness of the Tuscola CUSD #301 School Board, Tuscola, Illinois, the content and opinions posted here may or may not represent their views personally or collectively, nor does it attempt to represent the official viewpoint of Tuscola CUSD #301 administrators or employees.