Good Coach/Bad Father.

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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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6 Responses to “Good Coach/Bad Father.”

  1. sarahwww
    on Jan 31st, 2010
    @ 1:34 pm

    Ahhh, Michael, you don’t know, do you? When your children are playing sports you must make a pact with other parents ( maybe this is just a Mommy thing…) so that when you are talking, checking email or otherwise not paying attention and your kid does something cool, the other parents will fill you in so you can praise your child. You, of course return the favor. It would be more difficult coaching, but surely there is a sympathetic soul you could partner with…It really is the only way to survive with your Parent of the Year chances intact!

  2. Carol Horner
    on Jan 31st, 2010
    @ 5:12 pm

    I coached my daughter’s teams when she was young. (She’s 16 now) She played on co-ed church league teams. I remember that they lost their first game that I coached. I thought they would all be upset about the losing. The only thing they wanted to know was, who brought the snack and where was it? I fond out that I was really the only one who was upset about losing. They just enjoyed playing and enjoyed each other.

  3. Bill
    on Feb 1st, 2010
    @ 11:39 am

    I’ve coached my 3 boys in baseball and basketball for at least 8 years now and there have been many silent dinners, tears, yelling and that’s just from my wife towards me. I know how you feel and many times it’s because you know you can yell at your child without getting in trouble (other than from my spouse, but I’m used to that). I remember yelling at my 10 year old son, who played catcher for us, because he kept letting the ball get behind him. Of course the fact that the best pitcher in the league who threw 65+ mph in Little League, but not always with the best accuracy, was on the mound & 90% of the passed balls weren’t his fault didn’t matter. All I knew was that the balls kept ending up at the backstop. It was a reality check for me when he came back to the dugout in tears and I heard him say to his friend “I wish my Dad had a school board meeting tonight.” I coach because it ensures time for my family instead of filling my time with work related stuff. I love spending time with them, but it’s really easy to spend time at work too, Lord knows we’re never done withh everything we need to do. I have mellowed over time and I understand the need to point out the good and the bad, but there are still plenty of times where my boys and I have moments of “intense fellowship” about what they’ve done during a game and how they can get better. Hopefully they aren’t too scarred from the experience, but I’m still waiting for my “Father of the Year” award!

  4. Patrick Anderson
    on Feb 1st, 2010
    @ 8:20 pm

    You WON!!! Enough said.
    Just kidding, a little!

  5. Alicia Kessler
    on Feb 2nd, 2010
    @ 9:40 am

    I know you know this……..but better to be in the group that sees the Spawn’s errors than the group of parents who birthed walking perfection.
    My only offspring is 7. At Christmas she had the guts to sing a long solo at church in front of 300+ people. She certainly has stage presence – she smiled and obviously enjoyed what she was doing. The audience adored it. And…….the accompanist – that would be me tried to keep from visibly flinching at the notes that were not on pitch. I guess in being a somewhat older parent, I have come to realize that acting like you know what you are doing will convince most of the congregation that you do.

  6. Pat
    on Feb 4th, 2010
    @ 4:29 pm

    I think I know exactly what you mean and it has to do with family ties. Before my hubby retired as a judge, he was constantly being invited to talk at my school where I taught. Every time he would come talk, I would bite my nails and practically hyperventilate, praying that he would’t embarrass himself (or me) and hopefully do a good job. I would be so focused on worrying that I usually never heard a word he said. Later I would see everyone thanking him, kids waiting to talk to him, and people coming up to me to tell me what a great job he did. I guess he did great, because every year he was invited back.

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