Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Early morning

I've been meaning to post on various topics for the last several days. I really thought I was going to get to it last night, but lack of inertia and other tasks got in the way of my intentions.

But now, I'm up at 3 am, trying to decipher what bizarre movie is on USA Network while Hannah dozes in her swing.

She's been congested for the last several days and it was a combination of a stuffy nose and some hunger that awoke Lynda and I. Lynda is battling her own congestion, since she's been off her allergy medicine for the last several days--in preparation for this morning's appointment with an allergy doctor. Hopefully, she can get expert resolution of her condition and will feel better after today.


Last night after dinner I took Sarah and Grace bike riding at the middle school next to our street. We were able to get on their track, which provided a continuous, flat surface for both girls to refine their cycling technique. Sarah is moving along very adeptly now. She can get the bike moving on her own and was using the lane marks in the track to help her correct the wobbling from side to side. She can pedal all the way around the track with no help from me at all. Grace is also doing quite well. She still uses her training wheels (which she now informs me is no longer satisfactory . . . but that's tomorrow's challenge), but she pedals furiously along and shows a lot of confidence.

Naturally, they didn't spend all of our time outside on the bikes, not when there was a sand pit sitting beside the long jump track. So, while they build sand castles, I observed a group of boys and their coaches practicing soccer next to the track. These boys might have been the middle school team, but they didn't seem much older than Sarah, who is only in second grade.

What was intriguing was the way the head coach was continuously berating several of the kids during the practice, but none more so than one unfortunate boy I'll call Jared.

It was clear (t0 the coach?) that Jared didn't have his head or heart in the game because on every drill, every repetition, every movement, the coach had a criticism.

Jared, come on!
Jared, move up on the ball!
Come on, Jared! No one's on you . . . attack!
Run, Jared!
Hussle, Jared!
Make the pass, Jared! He's right there waiting, Jared!
Are you okay, Jared?!
Come on, Jared!
Are you tired, Jared!

It became so oppressive a wave of criticism that I thought either a) Jared was the coach's son--which earned him a special brand of personal criticism or b) Jared secretly has the most potential on the team and the coach is determined to bring it out.

But most likely it was c) the coach simply doesn't like Jared's effort. Perhaps on a different day the coach belittles someone else, but if I was a parent standing there while the coach found endless amounts of things wrong with my kid, it would bother me greatly. I especially liked the fact that the coach got upset when Jared didn't make the proper cross-field pass to a waiting teammate. This after several minutes of abuse on every other thing he couldn't do correctly. It's no wonder that Jared was so busy focusing on his footwork, his breathing, his speed, his effort that he didn't spare a moment to look past himself.

I am sure that all of my reactions to this reveal me to be a softie, unwilling to expose my children to constructive criticism, unwilling to sublimate them to the concept of team, afraid for my girls fragile psyches. And maybe I'm not totally ready to see them treated that way. But some of this did seem a bit over the top.

Other posts on other topics coming soon. I promise.

1 comment:

Sven Golly said...

Surely Coach McTuff has a rationale for riding Jared. Ever since the phrase 'tough love' was coined, the clueless and the thoughtless have used it to justify their actions. I say we tar and feather the coach - that'll show him.