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Friday, October 8, 2010

Warning… Emotional Mama Bear posting this evening.

This evening Jabber Jaw had his game against a select football team.  This team came in to our city from an hour and a half away and was undefeated.  My son is 10 yrs old, and plays the line and he has a ton on heart.  He is a good blocker and manages to create holes for the offense to run through. 

Having said that, this game was not a league game. It was an unofficial game, and because the coaches were playing a select team, they thought they needed more “size” on the line.  So, as a complete surprise to us two former players of our team were invited back to play this game.  No, they hadn’t practiced all week with us, no they are not on the roster or members of the team.  So my Jabber Jaw stood on the sidelines wondering what was going on and why the heck he wasn’t playing.  He plays offensive line, and for 3 quarters he just stood.  They’d bring him in for a kick off, but that’s it.  Four other players didn’t play at all.  That’s right, not at all…..

My husband finally came up with me to the bleachers so he didn’t say anything he might regret.  I’m glad he did, as it’s so easy to lose a testimony with words of fire and anger.  He kept silent the whole time, and I am proud of him.  Finally when Jabber Jaw was put in he did so well!  He owned #8 on the opposite team, pushing him back and creating holes for the offensive.  They gained the most ground that evening when he was in during that fourth quarter.  I was proud of him!  So very proud, of his attitude, even though he wasn’t put in and was not happy about it, he kept his head up and was ready for when his opportunity came.

Here’s the kicker about the game.  Our team got blown away 32- 0. This kind of a blow out and kids still sat on the sidelines.  I don’t agree with this coaching strategy.  I know it was an unofficial game, but you play those kids who have been committed to coming to practices, and you play those kids who have been committed to the team.  I think that just shows a lack of integrity from the coach and I have to say I am disappointed.  I didn’t expect that from him.  While this is a select team, it is also rec league.  Believe me when my son plays football in middle school and hopefully high school, if he isn’t good enough to start, then by all means bench him.  But, not at this age, not rec league, and not just so you can “win” a game.

One of the things that I love about my husband is he is a good “coach”.  He’s a great teacher of the game, and while he cares about winning, it isn’t everything.  He cares more about a kid learning the game, developing a love for the game, and developing their character on the field.  Jabber Jaws coach is a winning coach.  Last year they were undefeated, and when sign ups came around this year, several players requested him a a coach, because really who doesn’t want to be on a winning team?  That’s fine.  But here’s a stark contrast and I think equally telling.  Last year the King Fish coached Tiger Shark’s ten year old team.  They were awful, and I think won 1 game all year out of 8.  But, his caring for these kids was unmistakable.  He called then by their last name, but with a Mr. in front.  Mr. Thompson, Mr. Merck, etc etc.  A way of respect.  He led the team in a prayer huddle after each practice and game.  Half of our team were from broken families and we don’t know anything about their church life.  One time The King Fish forgot to pray, and one of the more rambunctious kids spoke up and asked, “Hey aren’t you gonna pray?”  I know I’m biased here, but my man made an impact both on and off the field.  Tiger Shark is playing tennis now, but when we went to sign up Jabber Jaw we were informed that he had no less than 8 kids request him as a coach this year.  Eight requests and with a record of 1-8.  That my friends is a coach.

I know there will be other moments of disappointment.  Honestly it took all I had to not just cry like a baby when I talked to my son and told him how proud I was of him.  I could see his disappointment.  Not in  the loss, but in the decisions.  I squeezed The King Fish’s hand, and we both walked away with him, not trusting our voices to utter a word to the coach.  There will come a time for that, when it is not so fresh, when a few days have passed and feelings have settled.  Then the King Fish will quietly speak, and I will pray that the Lord gives him the words to say. 

Thanks for listening… I know this was long, but I just had to get it off of my chest.



Craig and Phyllis said...

Oh, that is so sad!! My son played football for 6 years. His team was a church sports ministry team. They played other schools, but since they allowed kids that homeschool and such on the team, the games were always "unofficial". Fortunately, all the coaches were strong Christian men. They coached like your husband did!! And even if the player was not the best, he played if he had not missed practice, knew the playbook, and had a good attitude. Oh, I better go get a kleenex! I'm starting to cry with you!! : )

Julia said...

My oldest son played one year of football for the 'winning coach' and then quit. It was the worst experience we ever had with any sport and he played every sport (equaling a lot of coaches) until he discovered swimming. I can so relate to your sitting in the stands moment. It has been 4 years and I STILL have to pray for grace when I meet those men who were so intent on winning that they forgot they were coaching children!!

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