Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Green Stingers, a true story

Kayla loves to play soccer. She looks forward to it all year long and she is good at it. So, every year I sign her up. Normally her dad coached, but one year he was not able. So Kayla got a new coach, a husband and wife. Unfortunately, they were coaches that did not have any experience coaching at all.

I remember the first practice. It was a beautiful and very hot August evening. All the girls were very excited to be out on the field. I noticed that the coaches were having them warm up for about 20 minutes, which I thought was odd. As I was watching the team warm up, with the sweat dripping down my back, one of the girls screams and is jumping around, then another girl, then another. They were all screaming and jumping around and they were crying. They were getting stung by a swarm of bees!! The field was completely full of them! I ran out to the field along with the other parents to help get the girls off the field. In the end, all but one of those 6 players got stung by bees and most of them, more than once.

After that traumatizing event, most of the girls were nervous about returning to practice even though the team was assigned a new field.

At each practice, I would normally sit by the woman coach and we'd chat and she would always admit to me that they did not know what they were doing. I was always really annoyed by her for saying this and I would start to offer advice and it was advice that she would take and seemed grateful for. I tried to tell her that the girls really didn't need to stretch for 20 minutes and why, that the girls really didn't need a water break every 5 minutes and they really shouldn't disrupt the whole practice and take everyone on a 10 minute bathroom break.

The two coaches were also getting advice from the other players’ parents. We were a losing team and it showed on the girls faces. They were very upset. They simply were not being coached, not learning anything and not having any fun.

It wasn't until the coaches decided that for their own benefit, not the team, they wanted to have only one practice a week that I stepped up and really said something. I begged them to keep the extra practice, that if they really were unwilling that one of us will coach it.

This really upset them.

That night, the two coaches sent an email out to the team and league announcing that they were no longer going to coach the team, that they didn't realize what they were getting themselves into. They thought the parents on the team were rude and they were pulling their girls also.

This left the team with only four players, who wanted to play, but had no coach. The league almost dismantled the team. But the girls really wanted to play. One of the girls had even paid for her soccer registration herself, one had just fought off the Swine Flu. They were all upset, disappointed and couldn't understand what was going on.

I, my husband and the other player’s families fought to keep the team alive and it was a battle. The league agreed to keep the team together but said that at least one parent needed to coach. My husband and another dad agreed to coach. But, with only 4 girls on the team it was challenging. At that age, you needed 4 players on the team. I did manage to find a 5th player to add to the team. This 5th player was not able to get on a team at the start of the season, so her family was thrilled to have her play. With 5 players, the girls got a lot of playing time. They were all happy to play, but at the end of the game, they were very tired. If one was sick, that left the team with 4 players and you couldn’t substitute, they had to play the whole game. The very first game, before the 5th player was added, 2 of the girls were ill, so we had 2 players. I showed up early to the game and recruited other players from the other teams and these players were excited to help out. It meant more playing time.

Now I have always had a don't quit attitude and I know that when you quit, it not only hurts you, but if you are on a team, everyone around you. I taught this value to my girls and they lived by it, they weren't quitters.
So when these coaches decided to quit on the team and pull their 2 daughters off of the team, lying to them by saying the season was over. It was difficult for me to communicate with my daughter that quitting really is wrong, when she just witnessed grownups do it, people she looked up to.

I'll tell you what, even though the team never won a game, they were the hardest working team in the whole league. They started out not having much knowledge of the game, got stung by bees and they lost their coaches. In the end they ended the season as winners. They never complained and always had a positive attitude. I am proud of all of them.

1 comment:

  1. Jeannie,

    This story brought tears to my eyes and warmed my heart. As a coach, I appreciate what you, your husband, and the other parents did to keep the program alive. Great life lessons that the team was taught!

    -Denise (Munkres) Harris