Cry me a River, Build a Bridge – Get Over it!
You ever have one of those days, where you almost wished you saved your gas and money and gate fee and just stayed home doing laundry instead of going to watch your daughters team play?
Yea. Well. That was me last night, watching my daughters high school team play.
We got DRILLED.
And when I say drilled, I mean run ruled in 3 innings – blanking the scoreboard with not a single one of our runners making it to base, and fielding errors. My daughters team was unrecognizable, in fact at one point it didn’t even feel like they were playing at all. Like, who are these girls, or better yet WHERE are the girls, and what the heck are they doing today?
When I got a text from my daughter after she loaded the school bus to make the long ride home that phones were not allowed on the bus, and they were not stopping to get dinner, and she would text me when she got close to the school – I knew the coach wasn’t happy. They were in trouble for sure!
My first instinct was to be defensive. To somehow blame someone or something – I don’t know, the position of the moon or the coach for bad decisions, or anyone or anything and feel sorry for my kid who was no doubt enduring a miserable ride home, and oh my gawd did not deserve to be treated like this, over a G A M E! I mean, come on – it’s a game, right?
My next instinct was to immediately wish I was a fly on the wall on that bus so I could hear everything being said, and feel anxious to hear what all happened.
Luckily, I caught myself. In fact, if I am being honest, I was pretty pissed too, because I watched my own kid, stand their and take 3 beautiful strikes LOOKING earning her first backward K of the season during a really important game, and make an untimely error in the field.
And, I have come to realize that what happens ON my daughters team – is team business, not mama business. I am just there to support the TEAM!
Because the truth was that whatever happened on that bus ride home was NONE OF MY BUSINESS. It had NOTHING to do with me at all. This is my daughters team. Her coach!
Sure, mistakes happen – but in school ball and at many certain pivotal times in life – you don’t get a second chance to be your best. And the coach has set CLEAR expectations.
Just a few weeks ago, after a similarly miserable game played by the same kiddos – us parents stood around after the game waiting for our kids to exit the locker-room, only to over-hear our girls taking quite a (deserved) tongue licking from their coach.
We stood with our mouths agape, eyes wide, brows lifted – judging, and feeling defensive…many of us new to school ball and having only played the comfortable niche of parent-led travel ball, not used to there being such immediate consequences for one inadequate performance.
We are used to coaches saying, “Well at least you tried,” or “We know what we need to work on in practice,” or “That team was just better,” or “You girls didn’t play your best today and I am disappointed but I still love ya!” You get the gist.
Defensive mama and daddy bears standing outside a dugout hearing their children yelled at, makes the bears immediately want to be defensive. And defensiveness makes it easy to make excuses.
To find any reason but the TRUTH why whatever happened happened.
What is this truth? They stunk it up.
To feel like this ‘treatment‘ is unreasonable. Or is not necessary. Or is wrong. To fall back on the old adage, “Well it’s just a game, i can’t understand why the coach is so upset?”
It makes us parent bears mad, and makes us want to put out our arms and hug our kids and tell them how awesome and amazing and talented they are and buy them an ice cream cone.
To tell them that it is okay and that they don’t deserve to be treated like that. When they came from the locker room ugly crying and pouting – the mama and daddy bear instinct gets even stronger. Who can we blame? Whose fault is this? Well, the coach didn’t do a – b – and c, so what does he/she expect? This is ridiculous. (Oh do not deny….we are ALL guilty)
Because, it human nature for us to want to protect our kids from pain or discomfort, right? That is our JOB!
But lets get something STRAIGHT! That is NOT the coaches job! Her job is to develop players and win. (There comes an age when we HAVE to realize and face the fact that the scoreboard exists for a REASON!)
At least not a good coaches job. The coaches job is to have high expectations. TO PUSH OUR KIDS TO MAKE THEM BETTER ATHLETES AND PEOPLE!
And you know what, dammit – I want my KID PUSHED!! I want her challenged. I want her coaches to expect great things because SHE IS CAPABLE OF THEM. I don’t want a coach sugar coating things when she screws up, I want her to know that she screwed up and that someone BELIEVES IN HER ENOUGH THAT THEY KNOW SHE CAN DO BETTER! I don’t want a coach that is okay with my kid striking out simply because everyone else did. I don’t want a coach that is afraid to tell the truth, or is afraid to light a flame in my child’s belly for fear of ‘hurting her feelings’ when she is capable of MORE.
I want coaches that will help me raise my kids to believe they can DO ANYTHING!
The coaches job, a good coaches job, is not to accept mediocre.
And I for one, don’t want a mediocre kid.
The coach, this coach….she loved them enough that day, and last night, to tell them the truth. To hold THEM ACCOUNTABLE.
She told them they basically stunk it up, and they KNEW they stunk it up, and they knew they did not play to their potential.
What kids today do not often know, is that there is no one else to blame for lack of performance than themselves. Individually – and as a team! And, that the only people who can fix it is THEM!
No, instead we want to sugar coat everything for our kids. Make it cozy and comfy.
And, the thing is….if the coach didn’t think that our kids had the talent and ability to do better – than she would have been satisfied with the loss, or getting drilled.
The coach just loved them enough, to tell them the truth.
The coach knows that by blaming THEM – she GIVES them the responsibility, ownership, and ability for turning things around so they DO BETTER NEXT TIME!
She would have no reason to be hard on them, she would have no reason to be disappointed and frustrated, and pissed off that they didn’t show up collectively – mentally and physically prepared to DO THEIR VERY BEST – if she didn’t recognize, realize and KNOW what they were truly capable of.
See, these were important games!
Our kids will have many moments like this throughout their lives. Important days and moments. Where they will get but once chance to GET IT RIGHT!
And all mom and dads hugs, or excuses will NOT change the outcome if they are not prepared.
They, us, you – can sit back and blame whatever or whomever we want, but it is not going to make a bit of difference in the outcome. And it’s certainly not going to make our kids stronger mentally or physically.
Our kids will fail at things. And we have to learn to allow them to fail, or feel uncomfortable for a second, or be CHALLENGED! If we don’t how can we expect them to ever improve?
As our kids grow into adults, people will not always be there to sugar coat everything.
When they have a bad day, or when they aren’t at their best, fail a test, bomb an interview, screw up at a job – the rest of the world will not just be forgiving. No one is going to buy them an ice cream.
When they stink something up, people won’t say – “Well honey, at least you tried!”
Soothing words from mom and dad will not be able to help. Excuses why will not matter!
And if we continually interfere and try to ‘save’ our kids and make excuses for them to get them off the hook, to put sprinkles they are not going to turn into very good adults.
Our, kids need a good, hefty, hard hitting dose of the truth sometimes – even if they don’t like it! And people —– OUR GIRLS NEED TO KNOW THAT THEY CAN RECOVER FROM THESE THINGS AND COME BACK WITH A FURY. But they will not know that, if we constantly try to coddle and blame and make excuses and be angry every time someone or something blemishes their pride.
And parents need to sit back and just let it happen! You should want coaches that believe in your child enough to be hard on them. To expect a lot! To demand performance. To push their limits and always see the more our kids have to give. To make them better. At softball. And at life.