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

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


  1. The Science Goddess
    on Sep 28th, 2008
    @ 1:06 pm

    Many years ago, I taught at a junior high. Kids who turned out for sports were never cut from the teams and everyone got at least some play time during the games. Mind you, there are lots of differences in the size of junior high students and we had a few very scrawny football players.

    I remember being at a game once where Sonny headed out onto the field, a mere speck against the bigger boys. His mother was in the stands. She cupped her hands around her mouth and yelled to the coach “He doesn’t have to play!!” Poor mom.


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  8. Kim Capretz
    on Feb 14th, 2010
    @ 9:45 am

    Hello Mr. Smith! My name is Kim Capretz, and I am a student in Pete Post’s SPED 315 class. I really enjoyed the article, “Coach, Don’t Put My Kid in the Game. We are Trying to Win.” As a coach, it gave an interesting perspective into a parents thoughts. Most of my vocal parents question the playing time of their child and how they feel they should receive more. I never thought about the parents that don’t want their child to play so the team can win. They are paranoid that their child may make a mistake and lose the game for the team. That type of pressure seems to be too much. I had always had the perspective to play to win while trying to get all kids a little playing time. Now I see that may not always be necessary! Thanks, Kim


  9. Isabella B.
    on Jan 15th, 2012
    @ 11:56 am

    Great post. Thank you! Keep writing.

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