Saturday, November 3, 2012

Is it wrong? Am I bad person?

Coaching my kids' teams for the past 5 years, I ask myself the following 5 questions after every game:

1. Did my team have fun?
2. Am I proud of my team?
3. Did my team work hard and learn or accomplish something today?
4. Am I proud of the other team?
5. Am I proud of myself, that I did all I could to make this contest fun for all kids involved, from both teams?

You see, my father taught me that I would never be average.  He taught me that while it was "ok" for others to behave in certain ways, I wouldn't ever behave in the same manner.  He taught me about a higher way of living, without ever addressing it directly.  He made sure that I paid attention to inequities, and used my interaction to recsolve them.  He taught me that it really was my job to be aware of situations, and that it was my responsibility to watch out for my fellows.  I don't know why.  I won't get a chance to ask him anytime soon, why he did that...but, thanks Dad, I finally got it.

I've watched two games in the past week, that ended up 46-2, and 40something-1. One of those games was a loss for me and my team, and the other was a win for our team.

I'm stuck trying to see why I feel worse about the victory, than I do about the defeat.

I think it has to do with the 5th question I ask myself...and it makes me tremendously troubled, and saddened, that it might have been my father that caused me to ask that final question.  I'm troubled that other people don't seem to ask themselves that question, as coaches, or players.

What do kid's learn when they beat another team 46 - 2?  What exactly did they "win"?

I'm a very competitive person.  However, I want competition to be just that...evenly matched squads, meeting to test their skills, as an exercise of body and mind, at a game that has little consequence in their life. I am very comfortable with the concept of winning, and of losing...there's no true shame in either.

I'm trying to figure out exactly what the other team "won".    And, as I grow older, I continue to come up with more questions for myself, than I have answers to give to others.

When did the stakes become so high, at such a young age?

When did playing sports as a child, become so serious?

Where are the adults?  You know, the ones watching the playground, like at school, that kept kids' from playing unfairly...that split up teams that were clearly unfair.  Does anybody remember teachers telling them that fairly matched teams are more fun for everybody, because it makes the game more even?

How many points are enough?  46-2, 66-2, 86-2?

At how many points, does a coach turn internally and ask themselves "what am I accomplishing by beating this team so incredibly badly"?

I realize that I think too much, and I'll admit that fact..and that I take the little things in life too seriously...I'll own that as well.

Doesn't anyone hear their father's voice inside their head say "That's good enough, now call them off and let the other team learn how to play the game a bit"?

I do.  I go out of my way to.  I do it because my father taught me to...

If the love of Christ were to be gauged on the playing surfaces of children's sports leagues... would we feel spiritual then?  Or just on Sundays when we get to talk about taking care of the poor, and not the team that played "poor"?

"Does anyone know where the love of God goes, when the waves turn the minutes to hours?"

Sung by Gordon Lightfoot...ignored by coaches of children...coaches that believe a foot on the throat of a child does them good, somehow.

I've really not learned to be subtle, or not to come down on myself as hard as the situation deserves...if you read my blog, then you know I've personally been guilty of this very thing that's bothering me now.

I suppose that I may come down too hard on others as well, and while it is because I know they are better than that, I'll not make that an excuse for calling them out.  Those games weren't subtle either, and I believe the responsibility lies within the adults that coach them...who volunteered to coach them.

Am I proud of how I helped all of the kids out there today?  Or, did I help to beat the ever loving crap out of an 11 year old...watch it happen, and intentionally prevent mercy from entering a situation?

I left today wondering if it was anyone's birthday, on the losing team...  wondering if any of them are going back to broken homes...  I know I sent at least one girl home to a broken home... a girl that said to me two weeks ago, "This is the greatest night of my life, I scored a bucket, and for the first time ever...I won a game."  Don't all kids deserve to win a little...or at the least not lose their dignity along with the game?

You see, little things make big things.  Big people make little people.  And...unfortunately, Big Dickheads, make littler ones, waiting to grow up...

I have two rules in life;  1. Do your job, and 2. Don't be a dick.

These kids are 8, 9, 10, 11...they're kids, for Christ's sake...If you need to prove something, or test yourself...let me know, I'll get my five, you can have your five, and we'll meet anywhere you like...but, as an adult, I'll tell you now...it'll only be fun for me, and your likely to get pissed.

I'll end with question #5...


5. Am I proud of myself, that I did all I could to make this contest fun for all kids involved, from both teams?

Feng