Towards the end of bracket play in our first tourney of the summer I lost my *%$#! mind during a game. I pride myself on remaining calm and demonstrating excellent sportsmanship. I wasn't always like that.
As a player back in the horse & carriage days, I was a cocky little trash talking punk. Early on in coaching I was too excitable and often regretted or re-thought my behavior afterwards. It’s a process and fortunately for me, with age has come wisdom.
My team was making a run in the bracket. We were in a quarterfinal game, ahead 1-0 as the home team. There was about 12 minutes remaining with the other team up to bat. I informed my fellow coaches that I do not stall. It’s just not part of my character or philosophy.
Our opponent threatened to score with a runner on 3rd, but we stranded her there. We hustled off the field as the umpire let both benches know there was only 3 minutes left. The other coach was shouting at his team to get on the field and not take any warm-ups.
The first batter of the inning for my team was my catcher, who as quickly as catchers can, got ready to hit. She was standing just outside the batter’s box pulling her gloves from her back pockets to put them on, while I had been standing at 3B.
That’s when the other coach went nuts yelling onto the field directly at me, “That’s bush league coach! You know there’s only 3 minutes left! That’s bush league!” And then his parents/spectators joined in.
I looked right at the coach and shouted, “Oh Bull *&^%! That’s my catcher and she’s not stalling.” And that was the filtered version of what I was thinking of saying. I’ll give myself that much credit.
Never the less, my response did not persuade him or their fans that I was not stalling. And the fact of the matter, at the moment and in hindsight, is that it just doesn’t matter. I’ve already thought out my next response to such idiocy: I’ll laugh, shake my head and wave my hand downward dismissing the nonsense directed at me.
And then I’ll just let it go.