It’s that time of the high school season when you and your daughter are feeling one of two ways: Either you’re having a great time and don’t want it to end or you couldn’t be more ready to rejoin the summer travel team. There are seldom any fence setters. My daughter and I have experienced both extremes. The year that her varsity team made it to the quarterfinals was one nobody wanted to end. Another season, well, it was like, “Is it June yet?” Coach’s have these same emotions too. Whether they coach high school or travel ball or both, sometimes the seasons are tough to get through. The hard part is surviving and making the most of bad situations and experiences during the season.
The point is that we all pass judgment upon others in some way shape or form.
While our society has this ideal that it is immoral to cast judgment upon others, the reality is that judgment is a necessity that we all utilize. For example, my oldest daughter was in her middle school years…sigh…and one evening three of her friends (two boys) knocked on the door after 10pm to request she join them on a stroll through the neighborhood. I politely informed them (well kind of) that she would not be available, much to the disappointment of my daughter. A few years later the girl dropped out of school, because she was pregnant. My judgment was to limit my daughter’s opportunities for such predicaments.
In sports a coach must judge athletes during tryouts, while parents and players judge coaches and their potential teammates and their parents. This process continues through the season. Many teams have that one parent who may be arrogant, never satisfied, the smartest person at the game, extremely annoying, exhibits poor sportsmanship, etc. in which you dread seeing them. And quite honestly many coaches are imbeciles. They may be inexperienced, lack people skills, don’t know the game or worse yet think they do, treat players like dirt, etc. Many players are preoccupied with the problems of the day or boys, are moody, seemingly care less about winning or losing, are drama queens or simply lack the skills to play the game. The combination of any number of these things can lead to mounting frustrations through the season.
So, how do you survive one of those seasons? First, remember why you’re there in the first place. Players are there to play the game, gain experience and have fun. Parents are there to support their daughters. Coaches are there to lead, teach and inspire. Next, your daughter will face similar adversities throughout her life. This is an opportunity for her to learn how to deal with them and for you to provide guidance. The issues, in such a season, ebb and flow. Your approach to helping her is going to be mostly a trial and error process. Some things will work, while others blow up in your face. The big thing to remember is this: It’s a temporary problem and an opportunity to demonstrate the virtue of patience.
Frequently coaches too must take a deep breath and heed the advice Gandalf gave to Frodo, “This too shall pass.” Whether taking one on the chin versus a far more talented team, noticing the scowls from the peanut gallery or dealing with the mental break downs of teen age girls under pressure, you’ve somehow got to keep it together. Coaches also use trial and error to resolve issues, help players and the team. I wrote about that on the Softball Journey Facebook page recently. They constantly judge (assess) players and game situations to adjust their strategy or lineup. For example, when a pitcher begins to get knocked around, lose control or has a sore arm, the coach must decide whether to make a change. The same is true for a fielder or batter who may also be struggling on any given day. Sometimes they’re right and other times it blows up in their face.
The point is that we all pass judgment upon others in some way shape or form. Sometimes we’re right and other times we’re wrong. Parents may not understand a pitching change, while the coach knows the pitcher is missing 80% of her locations. A player may not understand why the coach pinch hit her, while the coach believes the sub can hit this high ball pitcher better. A coach might not realize that he is more critical of some players, thereby giving the appearance of favoritism. Throw things like this on top of a several losses and it can lead to a season of discontent.
The bottom line is to be patient, try to remain positive, make the most of it and remember it will be over soon.