I was trying to figure out what I should write about this week, when it was handed to me recently at a Friday night football game. I heard a woman talking, ranting actually, about coaches and their roles in our kids’ lives. I haven’t written about sports and crazy parents for a while, because sometimes I feel as if that’s old news. We all know the story – everyone is specializing his or her kids at a very young age. They all do “Travel ball” and pay umpteen dollars to keep up with the Joneses because God forbid your child miss a tournament, you lose. It’s the same story everywhere and frankly it bores me. If you choose to play the game, then stop complaining about it. If you choose to have your child play sports for the sake of fun, good luck.
Last night was a different type of rant. This gal was talking about coaches who bully their players and cuss and yell at them at them while they are playing. I know I’ve heard a lot of smack talk in my day, especially when my son played football. But I can’t imagine what’s going on with youth sports today, that coaches think it’s okay to belittle their players. Our whole society has shifted so far, that even the most abnormal coaching scenario seems normal. When I have conversations with the generation above me, they are in awe at what our kids have to do to keep up – and this applies to everything from school to sports.
We were just at our son’s basketball game last weekend and there was a moment of awkwardness, when a coach went off on one of his players. It was oddly quiet, and the coach kept yelling at this one little boy, “How many times have we been over this? I’m asking you a question, how many times”? He kept yelling it over and over and over. I wanted to jump on the court and hug this kid it was that bad. The question any sane person would ask is: what is the point of that type of coaching? Does the coach believe that by cutting the kid down, he can build him back up? Does he believe that humiliation is going to make this kid play better? Did he know what a jackass he sounded like to everyone who was there? Did he see the look in that little boy’s eyes and feel shame? I’m trying to understand, because I know that these coaches don’t get paid a lot, so what gives?
I want to know what happened to the John Wooden pyramid of success?
“Perform at your best when your best is required. Your best is required each day.”
Be true to yourself.
Help others. Make friendship a fine art.
Make each day your masterpiece.
There is a no substitute for hard work and careful planning.
Be more interested in character than reputation.
A former player, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, said this about John Wooden:
“My relationship with him has been one of the most significant of my life … The consummate teacher, he taught us that the best you are capable of is victory enough, and that you can’t walk until you crawl, that gentle but profound truth about growing up.”
What an honor to have played for John Wooden. Where is this type of coaching today? We need to get back to core values and raise good young men and women. But unfortunately, we are doing quite the opposite. We are teaching our kids to win at any cost and parents are stuck in the old chicken and egg scenario. They want to leave a team due to abusive coaching, but they “Can’t” because if that’s the sport their child want to focus on, and that’s “The team” to be on, they are screwed.
I’ll tell you what; I live my life for raising my kids right. If I found myself on a team with an abusive coach, I may stick out the season because we do not believe in quitting teams, but I sure as hell am not going back. There comes a point where we, as parents, have to say enough is enough.
What say you? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.