My daughter, Cheyanne, had a basketball game yesterday. Clayton, my 3 year old, and I were there to watch. The team she played against had 17 girls on the team, while my daughter's team has 12. Clayton and I watched as all the opposing team was rotated in and out through out the game, while Cheyanne played for a total of about three minutes. There were three girls that played almost the full game for Cheyanne's team while the balance of the girls rotated in and out, with Cheyanne getting by far the least amount of playing time. Am I complaining about her playing time because I'm her father? No, I complaining because as a team member, she was snubbed. Maybe she isn't as good as the other girls? Well, at the game before this one, she was the third highest scorer for her team. Did she get in trouble or miss practices? No, because she started this game. Was the game close so the best players were in going for the win? Nope, her team was blown out. The game was decided by the end of the first half.
So what's the deal?
Cheyanne complained to me after the game about her playing time. Being a protective dad, I wanted to go break her coach into about 100 pieces. But I was able to count to 10 and explain to her that she needed to talk to him about her playing time. Ask him for his side. Having coached Little League for over 20 years, I've had parents come up to complain about their superstar's playing time. One year when I was coaching Tyler, I had a parent get right in my face because I had taken his son out of the game. His son was pitching and was getting tired on a hot day. This parent asked why I took him out, then proceeded to tell me that I never pull my own kid. At that point I asked my kid to stand up. Tyler was sitting on the bench behind this parent. Kind of hard to play defense while your sitting on the bench! Every kid I coached, got to pitch to at least one batter (even tho some of them couldn't throw that far or straight or even really wanted to pitch) and every kid on the team was the leadoff batter at least once, during the season.
Now am I saying I'm the best coach of all time and all other coaches should be like me? No and Yes! Surprised?
What I'm saying is I knew the game! I knew the rules! And my FIRST concern was that the kids had fun!!
On my teams there were only three rules.
1) Have fun!
2) Pay attention when on the field
3) Have fun!
At the end of the season I wanted the kids to have had fun, learn some baseball and teamwork and take away some good memories. Every once in a while, I have someone come up to me and say, "Did you ever coach Little League? You were my coach!" Those are the memories I'm talking about!
This all comes down to, what I think, are people coaching teams for the wrong reason. You don't coach to win! You don't coach so that your kid gets to play more! You don't coach to relive past glory! You coach to teach!!! You teach fundamentals, teamwork, sportsmanship and how to enjoy playing a game! I don't believe many people can do that anymore. I have at least one or two more years left of coaching in me. Cheyanne has asked me to coach her softball team this year and I plan to coach Clayton at least once so that I will have coached all of my boys, from Jayson to Joshua, at least once.
And as for her basketball team, I try to make sure she knows that she's playing for the fun of it and for her school.
After all, it's just a game, right?