Sunday, September 16, 2012

I Thought This Post Was Going to Be So Different at Four O'Clock Yesterday Afternoon

Oh my gosh.  I'm just kind of emotional right now.  Maybe this isn't the best time to be blogging about this, but I want to do it while it's fresh in my mind and I can't handle it any more and decide I don't care because not caring is always easier than dealing with something outright isn't it?
Kaleb had a soccer game yesterday.  It's after midnight, so technically it was yesterday and the date of this post will show that it was yesterday, but the rest of this post will say today because it isn't tomorrow until I have gone to bed and woken up.  That's my disclaimer for the rest of your reading experience.  I don't want to go through and change all the "today"s to "yesterday"s.  You wouldn't either.
He has been wanting so badly to be the goalie all year.  Today he got his chance.  He's so little and skinny and not really very good at soccer right now (It is his first year playing after all), that I never thought his coach would let him, to be honest.  He tries so hard and I love to watch him play because he loves it.  Well, today, his coach couldn't make it to the game, so he asked one of the other dads to help out.  I didn't know this was going to happen.  Maybe his coach's wife sent an email saying that, but it didn't click with me that that was the way it was going to be.  Any way, I don't like unexpected surprises like that and it made me feel uncomfortable from the start.  I shook it off because I was probably just being weird, and was excited for Kaleb when he got put in as goalie in the second quarter.  Well, he didn't really do a very good job.  I had to keep reminding him to watch the ball.  The other team was really good, and he is still kind of not sure how to play the game.  Kurtis needs to work with him more because I don't know the rules at all.  He only caught one goal.  One time, he stopped it from going out of bounds and the ref told him to do a goalie kick and he was supposed to take it up to the line further away from the goal rather than the line closest to the goal that forms the box around the goal.  The poor kid.  Everybody is yelling at him to take it to the white line and he's getting told what to do by at least fifteen different people.  He gets confused - he put the ball on the white line, duh.  His not-coach says, "God, Kaleb."  Just like that.  He's crushed and humiliated.  The whole rest of the game is ruined for him.  I didn't hear his not-coach say what he said.  He was too far away from  me, but after the game, I asked Kaleb if he liked being the goalie and if he was so excited that he got to do it.  At first he was like, "Yeah." but he said it with so little enthusiasm that I asked him again if he thought it was awesome.  "Actually, no.  My coach said the 'G' word at me, Mom!"  He has been taught not to take the Lord's name in vain and to not say other swear words.  He doesn't take lightly when people do - at least when they are aimed at him.  He's very sensitive and can be quite emotional when he gets hurt.  He said he didn't know where his coach was pointing and let me tell you, there really is no white line any more.  It's been worn down to a brown line of dirt.  And let's face it.  Pointing really isn't that great of a way to get someone in the exact spot you want them.  So of course he was confused!
I'm so sad this happened to my little guy.  I'm upset that an adult would be so insensitive to small children and not think how inappropriate it is to talk to them that way.  He said two words to my son.  Two.  That's all it took.  I understand being frustrated with him.  He frustrates me everyday!  What upsets me is the impact it had on him.  That man's job for that one hour that day was to help seven boys have fun.  My heart is filled with sadness right now.  I just don't understand why people need to humiliate each other.  I never will.  His real coach would never have spoken to him like that.

 These were taken with my phone because I forgot my camera.  I had to take a picture of him in his goalie gear though!  This may never happen again! :)

 Yes.  He even has gloves on that are waaay to big for him.  Probably part of the problem, but he does look cute in them.

 See the brown line I am referring to?


Michele said...

I commented yesterday, but I didn't think it worked. It didn't. Anyway-
How's Kaleb? I so feel for him. :-( it is not fun to be out on a field and have everyone yelling at you to do something. That happened to me in t-ball when I was 6 & I never played again after the season was over. I remember I got the ball and then everyone was yelling at me and I couldn't understand what anyone was saying and one player wanted me to throw it to him and another one to her. I didn't know what to do and I hated that feeling of everyone yelling so I closed my eyes and through the ball to no one. I'm still kind of embarrassed about that. I think that happens to kids all the time and I bet similar things happen to older people too. Even professionals mess up sometimes. I'm glad I experienced it though and remember so I always have sympathy about stuff like that and think it has helped me be a better mom and art teacher. The one thing I regret is not playing again. Maybe I wasn't as bad at sports as I thought. So Kaleb, don't quit the team and don't quit playing soccer, but do remember how it felt and then when you are a teenager and an adult you'll know exactly how to be a great coach because you will have compassion and understanding and you'll know to just walk over to the person and tell them what you need them to do and you will remember sometimes players just need someone to put there arm around them and talk nicely and give tips and advice.

Melissa, that dad was out of line and you have every right to be upset. Use it as a teaching/learning moment. You can talk to Kaleb about how even adults make mistakes, because that dad clearly mad a mistake in losing his temper and needs others to be forgiving and understanding too. That said, I do think you should call the coach and let him know what happened because that dad should not be asked to sub again. I would tell the coach in person at the next practice so he can see that you are not angry, but have a concern and in a friendly way say something like: Kaleb is a little nervous about practice today and could really use some extra encouragement. Saturday's game didn't go so well. I don't know if you heard about it or not. Kaleb just got nervous with everyone yelling at him and didn't know what to do & we've talked to him about what he can do next time and we're learning from this, but he took it quite personally when profanity was directed at him. We don't talk like that in our home so he was very shocked and hurt by it. As a parent I don't approve of speaking to children that way and watching your coaching style I don't think you find that a good way to teach children either. I just thought you should be aware as the coach that parent's coaching style and also thought you'd like to know in case you notice Kaleb acting different during practice and you care about all these kids so it helps if you know what the kids are going through. Also, what specific skills should we practice with him at home so he can practice and be given another chance (even if it's just during a practice or scrimage) so he has a chance to prove to himself that he can do it and isn't a failure?

If you are too upset about talking to the coach maybe ask Kurtis. Or if a friend witnessed it, maybe a friend could say, "You need to know that Saturday person X swore at Kaleb. That's not a healthy coaching style and I hope he doesn't get asked to sub again." Something like that can really only be said by a third uninvolved party though (that saw it). If YOU say that it sounds rude and unfriendly and like you aren't willing to do your part to make the situation better so I think it's better to take the other approach so it looks like you just want to move on but do what is best for your kid. Staying calm & happy is the key.
Hope all that was helpful. Call me if you want to talk about it.

Kjersten said...

I'd talk to the city. I know the city sets things up with the coach, but they ought to be aware of what the parents are doing. I've seen parents be asked to leave and I've seen refunds be given when a child has to leave the sport because the parent is out of control. That parent was out of control. They are little boys. Its not pro.

Amber said...

This is heartbreaking. I cannot handle when adults are sharp with words towards children that are doing their best. PLEASE make sure that the coach is aware. I would be upset if it were my child or was another. This Dad needs to be coached on coaching, especially with children that are beginning a sport.