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A love letter to coaches everywhere

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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 don’t 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 isn’t about practice or drills or even lightning. If their hypothetical origami coach ran over the time for lesson, I’d still be complaining about the infringement of our agreed-upon practice time. My kids are still at the age where they think I’m good company. And we ALL know that the clock is ticking on that status quo. I’d be stupid not to take full advantage, don’t 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,

Catherine

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Comments
  • comment avatar Amber Johnson September 27, 2007

    Ahhhh, I have yet to enter the world as a soccer mom. However, I am already THAT mother. The one who is a Nazi with things beginning and ending on time. ESPECIALLY when I have a bun…errr…chicken in the oven!

  • comment avatar Aimee September 27, 2007

    Loved this post. And am taking notes.

  • comment avatar Angela September 27, 2007

    Now THAT (soccer coach) is something I would NEVER want to do. I inflict enough pain on myself as it is.

  • comment avatar Karie September 27, 2007

    I have enough stress just getting them to and from practice. Our coach always starts and ends on time. It’s just he thinks they’re in Olympic training DURING practice. I mean, the kids are FOUR!

  • comment avatar Lisa September 27, 2007

    I think you’re being hard on the coach. I mean, they put themselves out there…for free! Now, if this was a paid position, it would be entirely different.

  • comment avatar Jenny September 27, 2007

    I am as unsporty as you can get. Prolly why I’m so stressed.

  • comment avatar Kimberly October 1, 2007

    Who cares if they’re coaching for free? They need to be responsible to begin and end on time. It’s truly ridiculous how so many parents abdicate their own responsibility to coaches. You did the rught things by getting your kids. I’d do it whether or not it’s raining. The coaches will continue to go late as long as they are allowed. How would they like it if you dropped the kids off late? I guarantee they wouldn’t like it at all and you’d probably here about it. Besides, whatever happened to kids just playing on their own with their friends in the yard?

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