A love letter to coaches everywhere
To My Favorite Coaches:
Let me preface by saying thank you. Truly. Because if all the world were to line up from Most Sporty to Least Sporty, I’d be the woman standing behind the houseplants. So I sincerely appreciate the fact that you magnanimously dedicate your time to activities that stretch my child’s social and physical muscles long enough for me to open the fridge, take out some chicken, defrost said chicken and drive right back to the soccer field twice a week. I could never do your job. Not adequately. Not without medication and about a year to insert phrases like “penalty kick” into my vocabulary.
But, because I’m not carrying the gene that makes a person attracted to sweating and aching and running out of breath, I don’t understand what makes people want to do activities that engender those afflictions for longer than, say, one minute. Much less one HOUR. Nonetheless, let’s put that aside. I am here to pick up my children because you said practice was one hour long. Forget the fact that there’s lightning flashing across the sky and enough rain coming across my windshield that I feel compelled to use the wipers so that I can see said children pulling their things together and running in my direction. It’s 6:30. And for some reason the children are running in the OPPOSITE direction now. As I wipe the steady beads of rain from my windshield, I see them lining up for some sort of a kicking-the-ball drill. I check my clock. 6:32. I think to myself that maybe it’s a quickie drill. Maybe some nifty way to round up the balls in the net kind of drill. But now it’s 6:37 and the drill keeps marching on.
I look around me and see that other parents have pulled into the parking lot and are lined up alongside me. They, too, are running their engines and using their wipers. And waiting patiently like fishermen or grandparents or garage doors.
6:40. We are officially ten minutes over practice time and, still, no rounding up the troops. No huddle.
Are we all crazy? I think to myself. Because there’s LIGHTNING. There’s RAIN. And a chicken desperately needing my attention several blocks from here. So I step out of my lamb’s clothing and change into the big, bad wolf outfit, ready to BLLOOOOW the kicking drill down. The Colorado rain is cold against my very non-sweaty skin as I hotfoot it across the wet grass toward your drill. My kids see me and immediately runs to you, I assume to say they are leaving now. You raise your arms in what looks like disbelief. I want to raise my arms in disbelief as well, but they are now frozen to the sides of my body.
Believe it or not, I really hate that my children are leaving now. And not because I dont want practice to end with all my heart. But because they are alone in this. Nobody else is dispersing. No other parent is rounding up their susceptible-to-lightning-strike child. Nobody is saying, C’mon coach, enough already in the form of some horn-honking and headlights-flashing. I feel for my young children who, unlike me, LOVE to sweat and ache and run out of breath in the name of sports, even when it’s wet and cold outside.
But, really, this isnt about practice or drills or even lightning. If their hypothetical origami coach ran over the time for lesson, Id still be complaining about the infringement of our agreed-upon practice time. My kids are still at the age where they think Im good company. And we ALL know that the clock is ticking on that status quo. Id be stupid not to take full advantage, dont you think? But lately, it’s as if I, in my complacency, have decided to go ahead and let you be the parent. I let you decide when enough is enough. Whether it’s safe to be in the rain. And what time to sit down for dinner. Well… I did up until now. I’ve decided it’s time to go ahead and reclaim my position as parent. It’s for the best. You’re busy enough being coach… keeping track of things like penalty kicks and drills that involve rounding up the balls.
Again, thank you for doing a job that I cannot do. Thank you for your time, your enthusiasm, your dedication to the team and, more directly, my children. May the heavens forever reward you with clear skies on game days. But even if it rains, you can be sure that I’ll be there. With my watch.
Love and Respect,