We are already heavily into the 2010 NLL season, and in only a few weeks many Minor Lacrosse Associations will be firing up their Seasons.
I’ve been thinking of how much I missed coaching the kids last summer. Mind you, I assisted on two teams. Well technically two teams, but one I don’t think I showed up more than two or three times (that does bother me). But assisting is not the same thing as being the Head Coach. I joke with so many people that being the Assistant Coach is like being the most popular guy in town. You aren’t required to be there all the time. When things go wrong it is someone else’s fault, and when they go right, you receive almost as many accolades as the main guy. How can you lose?
Well I missed it so much I have applied to get back into it this season. When I mentioned it to my darling, she gave me that look. It was not the look of are you crazy, it was the look of I do not know if I can take it again.
You see, the Head Coach in any sport is always a fairly high pressure position. Especially if there is any prior success, as success breeds future expectations. And prior to last season I was a Head Coach for 5 straight years. In that time we had success, and we had failures. We had kids come and we had kids leave. And we had many parents that were appreciative, and we had some parents that were…….let’s say not as appreciative. For the most part I was able to understand it. Most parents whether they like to admit it or not, are there to see their son or daughter play. And when for whatever reason their sons or daughters do not play as much, or get disciplined for a shift, mom and dad may not always agree. Some will shake your hand for doing it; others will get you in the cross hairs.
But the reality is that a Coach should be there to watch 17-20 of “their” kids play. I used to always say that these were all “my guys”. I watched the group I had grow from little 7-8 year olds into the young men and formidable lacrosse players that they are today. I always tried to look at all of the players as my own kid. It has been a great pleasure to be around them and be able to be a part of their learning. And as much as it was a great experience for me, I cannot say the same for my wife.
Don’t get me wrong, she had some really good times too, but like many wives I am sure, she got pretty bothered sometimes. Bothered by some of the comments from infatuated parents that truly believed that I was “out to get” or “out to damage” their children. Or maybe I was in the way of their great future. On one occasion my wife sat directly behind another parent in the stands, who did not know who my wife was, and listened while that parent decided to focus 100 % of their attention on me and everything that was being done on the bench. There was a game being played, but these two eyes were fixated on me and all I was doing wrong, rather than the game that her own son was a part of. And this parent made no bones about letting her opinions of me known to anyone that was in ear shot. There were even comments on the way I was standing on the bench because at one point my arms were folded.
I believe part of the reason was this parents’ “holier than thou” persona. I mean she was a perfect person in every sense of the word. Just ask her. Part of it was also her own ignorance made her feel that she knew the game as well or better than anyone (including me), and how it should be Coached. And lastly I believe part was because she was too egotistical to see that the game was far more than just being about her own son. You might say that is a bit of a shot back, but I truly believe that was the case. Life however, got much easier as that parent eventually left for greener pastures.
But from that day forward, my wife was never really interested in being around the arenas even though her son was playing. She would go every now and again and still does. For the most part, she has chosen to do other things while my son and I are at the rink.
So to all of the wives who’s husbands are Coaches, and I guess even husbands who’s wives are behind the bench; Thank You. My personal experiences show that it is not always easy, and many times you inadvertently receive the brunt of someone’s anger toward your spouse. I understand that not every Coach is a great one, and I do not profess to be one. But I truly believe most Coaches I have run in to over the years were there to help kids and have some fun. It is very unfortuante that some parents cannot see that most Coaches really are trying their best. And it is also troubling to think that there are still moms and dads that believe Junior is an angel and can do no wrong. Oh boy, everyone should have the opportunity to see their kids in a dressing room, around their peers when mom and dad are not there. In some cases, ….nah forget it, some moms and dads would still see it as someone elses fault.
I am so appreciative that almost all of the experiences that I have had with parents have been very positive. Yes there have been some trying times, but most are there because they love their kids, and love them being out, having fun, and making friends. Thankfully, there are far more appreciative people out there when it comes to Coaches, but similar to everything in life, there’s always one……
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