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Saturday, October 11, 2008

We just got home from watching our youngest son play Pop Warner football, and I'm still annoyed at the coaches. Even after writing an entire book about how to help your child when he or she is hurting, I still want to go shake my finger in a coach's face and give him a piece of my mind! Which, if you read my book, isn't the best method of helping your child deal with pain.

But I still want to do it! (said with hands on hip and right foot stomped!)

And once again I've come to the conclusion that football is not a women's sport. I know some women play, and more power to you. But football at its core has testosterone flowing through it. I'm convinced if moms were coaching, the sport would be very different. How do I know?

Because if moms were coaching, every little boy would get equal playing time.

Those boys who don't have natural athletic ability, would NOT be pulled out after making one mistake, while everyone in the stands watched.

Moms would make sure that every boy got a positive word of encouragement.

Moms would never call a group of junior high boys "ladies."

Moms would recognize a child who is trying his hardest, but whose body just won't cooperate with what his heart wants it to do.

Tonight I had to watch my little boy get his heart broken again after being told he would start on defense, only to get pulled after one mistake. Then I watched him stand away from the rest of his team, hoping the coaches would notice him and put him back in. And once, when he thought he heard his name called, I watched him start to run towards the coach, only to realize it was someone else who was being put in.

So I tried to remember my own advice when my child hurts in a situation like this ... when someone doesn't see his potential, when his effort is overlooked, and when he hangs his head in sadness.

For this situation, and this child, the most important thing his daddy and I did was tell him how proud we were of him. We both pointed out specific plays he made, and how they impacted the game. We acknowledged what a great team player he is and how he encouraged his teammates, even though he was sad. We recognized that he never gave up. And then we treated him to a fast-food dinner out after the game.

Even though we wanted to berate the coaches, we refrained. Honestly this was a big internal battle, that I haven't always won. But no good comes out of criticizing a coach in front of your child - no matter how satisfying it might feel at the moment. (speaking from personal experience here)

So tonight I'm praying for my little boy (who is really not so little anymore). I'm praying that the truth of who he is doesn't get smudged by what some other adults think of him. I'm praying that God helps me deal with my anger towards others who aren't very kind to my son. I'm even praying for the coaches, who are just volunteer dads. And I'm trusting God will bring good out of this situation - for both my Robbie and me. He will - I know it!

That's enough venting for one tonight. I think I need to go read my Romantic Homes magazine and get a bit of femininity back in my life. But I'll hug and kiss my son before he falls asleep. Because I still can. Thank you God!



Anonymous said...

It's bad enough to watch your child hurt because of the actions of another child, but it's even harder when your child is hurting because of the actions of an adult. "They ought to know better," we think. Grownups are equally flawed and it is a bitter pill to swallow for a child. Love and prayers are all we can do to give our children the strength to grow and learn without having their spirits crushed by an unthinking person. I feel your pain!

Joyful said...

I wish so many coaches could understand the meaning of 'team' and 'fun' and 'recreation' etc... It's hard to watch any child not given a fair opportunity.

Feeling for you. Praying you'll be able to let it go and move on. I've wasted far too much time brooding over something like this - even long past my son even remembering the incident.

Hope you lost yourself in your magazine. Sounded delightful.


Joy in The Truth (Sharon Sloan) said...

Oh, I love this post. And my heart has a little ache for your son, too. May he know He is perfectly defined by his wonderful Creator.

My son loves sports, too, especially football. I think the depths of our love for our sons comes out in a different way when they are on the playing field.

Your son has a great defender in his momma and the best defender in his God!

Hugs and high fives,

Pam said...

I too feel your pain. We spent many years at the football field watching this thing happen over and over. It became a game for the coaches instead of for the kids. Coaches get really wrapped up in winning. With that said, some of the better coaches we came in contact with over the years commented on this issue on letting a child play. They sometimes would pull the kid out for their own safety. They may have had to line up against another child way to big for them or the play they wanted to institute might endanger the child's safety. I tried to look for these things when my son got pulled. My attitude became gratefulness to the coach for protecting my child. Now, will you like seeing your child pulled for "no apparent reason?" No. But watch the field. Look deeper into what the coach might be thinking. Please know, I am in no way defending coaches. As a mom I agree football is not for women! I can't stand the way they talk to the boys and some of the tactics they use for practicing, but just wanted to share what I had learned through my years spent at the ball field.
Many blessings.

Luanne said...

I came across your blog via Proverbs 31. Thanks for your devotional--and this post was right on. I have struggled in the past with my children and how they are treated by coaches, etc. Now my son is in college--playing Lacrosse. God knows exactly what our kids need to prepare them for their future--and sometimes that means heartache. Oh, Lord help my mother bear heart!! God Bless!