Wednesday, October 30, 2013

A Win or a Relationship?

Gear up readers. Get your comfortable blanket, grab your coffee. This is going to be a long one. So, here goes ...

Are there ever things you just know about yourself? There are some things I have known about me since I was a kid, things I embraced as a teen and things I am still learning about myself as an adult. Here are a few of them: I know that I am not a confrontational person. I am a total people pleaser and am still learning that I can't please everyone. I do not give up on people, yet I must stand firm on the things I believe in. And throughout Kolt's football season this year, all of these traits have surfaced and have been made very raw.

Travis and I have always encouraged our boys when they have shown a great amount of  interest in activities. Some have worked out and some have not. Whether they thrive in the activity or not - we support them, encourage them to always follow through and to never quit, to make new friends, to be an encouragement to those around them and to not ever forget to have fun. Winning feels nice, but it's the relationships that are made that mean the most.


Our football season for Kolt has come to an end. Abruptly and a little early I might add. 

I originally sat here and typed most of the junk I've gone through this season. And then I erased it all. That's just not me. Quite frankly, it just isn't worthy of your time. What should be known is that from August to October, I have been disrespected immensely by the man who coaches my son and 15 other five and six year old boys, my family has endured stress over the issues and most importantly things were said about my son that would make you sick to your stomach. And just when you think other parents, coaches and members of the board will think the behavior is revolting, no one says anything. I was not the only Momma who went through the ringer either. One player told another player that the coach said he wasn't picking him next year because he wasn't playing as good as he should be. In one of the after game huddles, one player was told he lost the game for the rest of the team, by the head coach. And yet, for the sake of my son's love for the game, I kept my mouth closed, bit my tongue and stuck out the season.

We played our last game of the season last Saturday. I watched my kid play his heart out like he does every game. In my eyes, he's a star. In other's eyes, he's just another kid. A kid who is ordinary, nothing great. Okay, I get that. We all see our kids to be All-Stars. We're supposed to, we're their parents. I don't expect my kid to be treated any certain way, these boys are a team. They are supposed to be taught to work together. A quarterback can't run a play unless he is blocked. If our line isn't blocking, we're not scoring. A team effort, always. Football is not a One-Man-Show. Or so you would think. 

We went to practice on Monday, like any other practice day. I was in no way planning to leave his gear on the sideline and walk away. A close friend of mine, who has struggled greatly this season with the coach's disrespect and bullying as well, was told her son would be sat for half of our Play Off game for missing one practice that week. For a funeral. A funeral people! And let me add the director of the association agreed with this. Who in the world wants to explain to their son he has to sit for half of one of the most important games of the season because he attended a funeral? Um, no one. My friend decided to pull her son from the team. Enough had been enough. Even still, I planned to keep Kolt there. This kid eats, sleeps and breathes the game of football. As their coach passed us by, my friend's Mom had stopped by to let him know her grandson wouldn't be returning. He walked straight by her as she tried to speak to him. Nothing other than "I'm sorry you feel that way." I sat there dumbfounded. He didn't have enough decency to stop and even look at her. 

Have you ever had your heart whisper to you? At that moment, mine did. Who the heck am I allowing to influence my kid? That thought raced, raced, raced through my mind. What is more important? Pride or the way people are treated? And what am I standing for by remaining here?

The boys began a scrimmage game and of course, like always, Kolt was sat on the sidelines first. I watched him sit there and watch the other kids play. I walked over to Kolt, kneeled down next to him and whispered in his ear, "Do you want to just be done?" I was shocked when he said, "Yea. Sure Mommy." Nothing more was said. I unsnapped his helmet, removed his mouthpiece and chin strap, took off his jersey, unbuckled and unlaced his shoulder pads and left them on the sidelines and walked away. I gave Kolt the opportunity to tell his coach good bye and he opted not to. And that was that. We walked away. I explained to Kolt he completed his season and that these games were just extra. Was that entirely the truth? Not really, but I didn't want Kolt perceiving us leaving that night as quitting. There is a difference in standing up for what you believe in and quitting, I just didn't have the words to tell him that Monday night. 

I got home that night, laid the boys down and cried of course. Kolt was okay with it though and that helped me a ton. I have never seen a kid give so much heart in a game as much as he did. He was always the smallest one and it never stopped him. I have some great videos of him flattening boys that are twice his size. And I love it. I love watching that kid play the game, brings me a joy that is unspeakable. And I am for certain this is where my tears came from. 

So here is the confirmation of why I left and what I am standing for. Remember my friend? My friend who pulled her son as well, did I mention her son is a beast for a five year old and plays a huge role on the team both offensively and defensively. Yea, her. One of the assistant coaches contacted her to ask about her son coming back. No one ever called me about Kolt. He called to ask her about why she left. No one ever called me to ask why I left. He called to make sure her kid would be able to come to the banquet still, no one called me to ask if Kolt would be there. I am on no high horse here, but do you see where I am getting at? These coaches are more concerned about the better player coming back to play because they are worried about losing their Play Off game. They are in no way concerned about the feelings of others or the relationships that have been established. And I don't even know why I'm so disheartened about it all. Why am I even surprised? 

Maybe I grew up in a world full of unicorns and rainbows, but I do not treat people that way and I don't expect to be treated that way. And I certainly am not more concerned about a dang Tiny Mite football game win over the expense of another family's feelings. 

Who the heck is coaching our kids these days? I am appalled that the association has allowed this to go on and done nothing more than a 'slap on the wrist' for the behaviors. I am saying all of this to say please know who is coaching your children. Please know that they have the best intentions for them, not for a win. Please know they are influencing your child internally and more than likely your child will place them upon a pedestal. 

And please teach your children that people are more important than things. What's a win if you've lost a relationship in the end? 

Please feel free to leave your thoughts and comments below ...


  1. People and parents take for granted the relationship and role models they place in their children's life. Children are like silly putty they pick up on everything that is placed before them. As a parent, you did an amazing job of teaching your boys what is wrong and what is right. What is important and what is not... I wish more parents took the time to get to know the people in children lives. At the end of the day, you are setting your children up for success when you are placing good role models in their lives. If you are letting them be taught by people who do not have the same morals and values as you, you are communicating to your children that you are wrong and other peoples actions and beliefs are okay and acceptable. At the end of the day, if comes down to who you want your children to become. Sports are fun but should teach responsibility, working together and commitment not competitiveness and pride. This is a concept you understand well but far too many people neglect.

  2. I just love that sweet boy! He is a HUGE winner and at this age it should not even matter about winning and losing. I completely agree with Ashely, it's about working together and commitment. It's probably for the best you pulled him out - eliminate as much stress as possible so you can focus on what's really important. Nicely written article.

  3. I want to start off by saying you are doing a wonderful job with your family. I really admire what you are doing with them. Hunter has played since he was 7 and we have had wonderful coaches and we have had some real wackos. However being my mother's child I was not able to keep my mouth shut. Which honestly I am not sure helped but I did what I thought was right at the moment. I hope having this bad experience doesn't turn you against the sport. Some adults should really not be involved with children activities. I pray that you have better experiences in the future. Being apart of a team is so rewarding when they have a supportive uplifting and patient coach!