C’mon Coach

A coach’s email
Sent to the parents,
But meant for the players
Has me shaking my head
Over the lack of perspective
Rampant in youth sports.

We are teachers, coaches.
The lessons we teach
Are bigger than the game,
The scholarship opportunity,
Or the potential business to our
Local sports store.

We should be thinking beyond
Wins and losses and
Looking ahead at how pronouns
Shape the way kids see the world
And accept responsibility
For the way they act
Under the pressures of a game.

Stop with “They,”
Deny the ease of putting blame on others,
The hard play of competition
Does not need to be countered
With chippy attitudes and petty fouls
Or calls that,
“They played aggressively because of where they are from.”
No, that’s borderline… I take that back,
It’s insensitive at best, elitist on some level, and
Culturally insensitive for sure.

I’m not quite prepared to say racist yet.

The game is about “US,”
How we play as a team,
How we stay true to our values,
Even when the games heat up
Or the calls seem questionable.
Resorting to the same style of play
That we find so objectionable in our electronic communications
Is a white-washing of our culpability
In the farce that is getting bent
Over what happens
In recreation basketball games
On cloudy Saturday afternoons.

Emails that mask the failures of our children
Should not be the way of our teaching and coaching,
When we respond to pressure the wrong way,
We need to place blame where it belongs,
With our coaching, our playing,
Not the other team or the referees.

Coach your children well…

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