Tuesday, March 22, 2005


I coached Brookside Soccer for all the years my son chose to play. It was a great experience - I got to know parents and kids, and it was wonderful to watch them grow for the several years I knew them. Justin, Steven, Sam D., Tyler, Lee, Bobby, Arnaud, Benjamin - most of them are in college now, and those that I hear from or about are doing well. We didn't win a whole lot of games. Instead of discouraging the weaker players from coming out season after season, I held to my pledge to never yell a negative thing to a child on the field. Those times we won were sweet, and the times we lost, well, we always found something good about those games to appreciate, praise, and carry into the next practice. We were a recreational and instructional league, darn it, and we kept our focus on that.

You often hear about how awful sports parents are. I never saw it. The only time I had parents question me about how I coached their son was once when Justin's parents thought I had, perhaps, let him play more shifts than he deserved. I always had superb parents, and I appreciate them to this day.

I saw this well-done, thoughtful article on the St. Louis Post Dispatch's website, and it brought back those memories. It also brought back those long, embarassing hours as a kid sitting on the bench, put into the baseball, soccer, or basketball game only in situations where my awkward presence could make no difference. And feeling awful that my parents saw it all, in stark contrast to the MVP performances my older brother put forth.

For a 6 years or so, a group of kids had a pretty fun time playing soccer on my team, and learning a little about soccer and teamwork, and a whole lot about sportsmanship. We could have won a few more games - we had the talent - but I don't regret the losses at all. I hope those kids, now young men, look back as fondly on those practices and games as I do.


Blogger dolphin said...

At least you got to sit down ;-).

My little league days were spent sitting out in right field swatting at gnats with my mitt.


3/23/2005 12:58 PM  

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