Sunday, September 21, 2008

Gotta rant...

...singing in a high-spirited, Broadway style. Oh, and I apologize - I was a day behind in my "Talk Like a Pirate Day" festivities. I don't know where my head was. Off the plank, I suppose. It really should be celebrated for a whole weekend, anyway.
So, I mentioned recently that I am coaching Monkeybutt's soccer team. I need to say from the get-go: I am not a good coach. My soccer experience includes P.E. class and seven years of watching my son's teams play. However, MB wanted to play, he likes to win, but doesn't really require it, so we found a local rec league. They had a coach shortage, I wanted my kid to play, so I volunteered. The end. Well, I have a kid on my team. She is loud, obnoxious, and overly aggressive. Throwing elbows, kicking ankles, shoving. As irritating as she is, however, her parents are far worse. They yell - nonstop - through the whole game. Telling the kids what to do at every turn, and insulting me. So, today I pull the girl off the field (she had been playing for a long time). She stomps in, collapses on the bench in tears, yelling at me about how our players don't know how to play their positions, I don't know how to coach, and she knows far more about soccer than anyone (she's 8, by the way - the players range from age 8-11). After 5 minutes of this tearful ranting, I tell her to hush, we'll talk about it later. After the game, the father stomps up to me and yells at me, "What, my daughter's not allowed to talk now? You hushed her at practice, and you hushed her today. You'd better not make it three times!"
Uh huh. I sincerely do not think I was out of line. I didn't tell her to shut up, that I didn't want to hear her opinion, or anything else unkind. If I didn't hush her up once in awhile, we would never get anything done. I responded that she continued to yell at me about how our players didn't know how to play, and he tells me, there are 8 players over near the goal, obviously they don't know how to play!. I glare at him in response, and say, basically, what I said above, that I was up-front from the beginning, I am a volunteer here, I never said I was a good coach, but that I liked the kids, and wanted them to have fun. Here is when he threatens me with the "better not make it three times" line. I am proud to announce that I kept my dignity through the entire encounter (I am not a confrontational person - I do not handle that crap well.) I didn't start sobbing until I reached my car. Thank you very much.
Anyway...was I out of line? Am I not allowed to tell a player to "hush?" Would you lay into me, "get all up in my grill" so to speak if I told your child to hush? Ya know, so I could coach the game? (and by the way, yes we lost, but the opposing team was very good, and the ref told me we played very well - the score did not reflect how well our team played. So that's a good thing.)

Le sigh. Anyway, that's my sad story of the day. My mom was there and wanted to beat the guy up. My son looked like he was going to jump on the guy (I"m glad he didn't.) But we got home, and proceeded to go to the Octoberfest at the Catholic church down the street, where we had great mounds of fun. Time to put the girl child to bed.


writtenexpressions said...

You're the coach--that implies that you have a certain amount of authority over your team members. You had every right to tell that girl to be quiet, and you did it in a way that was not disrespectful--which is more than I can say for her or her parents. Next time they get in your face, get the ref to throw them out of the game.

Jenn said...

That is RIDICULOUS, uncalled for behavior on the part of the child and the coach. As someone who has watched A LOT of soccer over the years, ranging from rec to select and now high school, I can tell you that the people who truly know how to play the game are the players who work hard, play hard, practice hard, all with a spirit of friendly competition and good sportsmanship. It sounds like both this player and her parents need a lesson in those skills. In my humble experience I've found that aggressive players play "dirty" to mask their lack of true soccer skills. Keep up your good work - and hold your ground. If they pull off your team, then trust me your team will be better in the long run. Sorry to rant with you, but it annoys me to no end. Sports are not the be all and end all. People need to get a grip!