T-ball game. My daughter in her dress, pink leggings and green t-ball shirt is out in the field. Daddy is behind her – about half the parents are out there.
The ball comes straight to Skadi, she has it! Then that other little brat rips it out of her hand! Then my husband pries the ball out of the little brats hand and hands it back to Skadi.
We are a proud YMCA sports family. We appreciate their lack of competitiveness among the younger set. We have participated since Leif was Skadi’s age – that would be for going on three years now – and have taken our turns at coaching.
Every team we have participated on before has had a great coach. Caring, fair, kids adore them. When AB has coached we have for the most part had good experiences. As a coach you are volunteering your time for the sake of the kids. It isn’t just a two hour a week obligation (one hour practice and one hour game). Nope, there is organizing the snacks. Calling parents when games are cancelled (this spring there was a lot of that for these coaches). Thinking up drills. Engaging the kids and generally keeping them corralled with help from the parents (you always hope). Organizing the end of the year party. Ordering trophies.
As coaches, we have had a few parents get mad at us. There was the Indoor Soccer team that we cancelled the picture day (team agreed) and decided to do pictures on our own as the picture day was horribly inconvenient. Of course, there was one parent who missed the e-mails and showed up with her son at the appointed place and time. And she was ticked. And gave us an earful. And we took it all the while mumbling, “but we sent 3 e-mails and talked about it at the prior practice and game?!?”
Then we got chewed out this spring because one of the boys last fall was “never contacted”. Umm he was. We e-mailed the e-mail address we were given for every single update, we phoned twice and the number was disconnected. But apparently we didn’t try hard enough… we finally got a not so happy e-mail back this spring.
But we move on.
2/3’s of the t-ball season has been me. AB and Leif had soccer and other obligations pretty consistently. So AB just got to hear my whining about the coaches and kept reminding me “they are volunteers”.
Skadi is on a team with one other very demure little girl and 8 very rough and tumble boys. Leif is not so rough and tumble. He loves sports and gets in there, but he isn’t and never has been aggressive like I see many of these little boys behaving. The first two practices I thought Skadi was going to hold her own. She got into the dog piles and often came out on top. My friend commented that t-ball really meant tackle ball.
Two practices was about her limit. Then she quit getting into the mix.
And here is the cycle:
Skadi standing waiting for the ball.
Skadi runs to the ball.
Skadi doesn’t get the ball.
Skadi gets frustrated.
“Nobody EVER lets me get the ball!”
Skadi doesn’t get the ball.
Skadi gets bored and wanders off and wants to play on the playground equipment.
Skadi doesn’t want to go back out into the field.
The female coach has been a touch sympathetic towards her, “come on Skadi, let’s you and me get the ball from these boys!”
And she buys it for a few hits.
And if she is lucky she gets a ball and it sustains her for the inning.
And if not the cycle repeats.
I know my daughter is difficult. I know she is a whole bunch of drama wrapped up inside one little girl. I know she is one child in a team of 10. But come on.
The male coach ignores her and gets visibly annoyed with her when she starts screwing around. (But the boys can roll all over the ground and battle each other.)
For the later third of the season AB started showing up since soccer finished – and going into the field with Skadi – and running the bases with Skadi – in an effort to keep his thumb on her and to help her out a bit. Still Skadi never gets to play first base (the coveted position since the players all throw the balls to first base) and is consistently one of the last batters.
And I bite my tongue, because the coaches are doing their best and they are volunteering their time. I didn’t step up (this time).
Then there was last night. Skadi is in the field next to one of the bratty boys. I saw him step on her hand to release the ball. Skadi cried. I saw him pry the ball out of her hand three times. AB talked to both coaches, who shrugged their shoulders.
See we don’t tolerate bullies on our teams when we coach. They sit out. And parents are usually – or at least they act that way towards us – very supportive.
So when I saw AB pry the ball out of the brats hands and give it to Skadi. I sighed. I looked around at the parents scowling. And my friend I was standing with proclaimed, “go daddy! Stand up for your girl!”
The brat started bawling. Dad picked him up, glaring at AB.
AB came off the field saying, “I don’t think I made any friends.”
Yeah probably not. But my daughter finally got her hand on the ball and with that experience she can maybe finish out the season.
T-Ball – not Skadi’s sport. Swimming is still looking like the winner.