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!