It’s no big secret I don’t like my son playing football. Or maybe it is, maybe I’ve done a much better job of hiding my feelings than I thought. Possible but I doubt it.
But right now, how I was feeling before no longer matters. Football positively sucks and I can’t wait until this stupid season ends. If it were possible, he’d be done now. Yes, now.
The reason is very simple. He did not get to play in the game on Sunday. Yep, that’s it, he didn’t get to play. Okay that’s not the full reason, that just started it. I realize that in kids’ sports some kids get to play more than others. I realize that the less athletic kids are the ones who spend more time on the bench or sidelines. I get that and I am fully aware that my son is one of those kids. Got it, but he wants to play so let’s move on.
The coaches (who I would love to name but will not) of this league (that I would love to name but will not) have told the kids from day 1 of conditioning that the point right now is to play and have fun. They have stressed that this is a learning league and that they will teach them everything they need to know. GREAT!! Especially for my son. This is something he NEEDS, in order to learn the game and maybe have more of that fun they were talkin’ about.
But apparently it’s not working out quite the way they said… at least for the 5 or 6 boys who stood on the sidelines hoping, waiting for their turn on the field this past Sunday. And my problem with this is that I don’t know how to handle it. He’s not a baby, he’s not even a very young child. But he’s not a teenager or an adult either. Do I say something? Do I do something? Or do I just seethe quietly and let him be left out? What the hell do I do???
Monday was Labor Day and the boys and I were at Walmart picking up a few things we needed when we ran into another football mom. She’s kind a joiner mom and her son, I believe, plays for the 6th grade team. She stopped us and asked how the game was on Sunday, and asked how Jaben did. When we told her what happened, she was in shock. She said that, knowing Coach Namewithheld, she couldn’t imagine he knew there were kids who didn’t get on the field and that I should call him so he knew. Maybe that would keep it from happening again. At least, she said, that’s what she’d do.
To be honest, I did want to approach the coach because I really did think it was a simple mistake. So when we got home, got settled, and it was quiet, I called him.
The guy is a jerk.
First of all, he was incredibly rude on the phone. I think I had a legitimate concern and… Well, have you ever had the “pleasure” of talking to a man who looks down on women and talks to them as if he has better things to do? Yeah, like that. Very. Unpleasant. Conversation. But the gist of it was this: he purposely left 5 or 6 boys out of the game because he didn’t want to lose. No, he did not admit that outright. He talked in circles quite enough to get to that. At first it was that he thought the other team was tough (they were smaller than the boys from last week) and he didn’t want these boys to get hurt. Then it was that it was a tight game and he needed to use the starters. Then it was that these boys don’t work hard enough in practice and don’t deserve to play in tough games. Are you following?
Yeah, he kept them out because he was afraid to lose.
And this man is supposed to be a role model for boys.
Worse, he lied to me outright. He said that after the game he grabbed all the boys who didn’t play, told them he was sorry and explained the situation. Now I know for a fact that was untrue because as soon as the game ended, I came down off the bleachers and watched my son. I expected him to be upset and needed to see. As I was standing, waiting for him, I saw another boy and his mother walk by and I heard her telling him that she would guarantee he would play in the rest of the games. Bearing in mind that Jaben left the sidelines AFTER this boy and not one coach approached MY son, what are the chances this boy received any attention either?
Slim. Quite slim. So why did Coach Namewithheld lie to me? Why did he tell these boys that this league was about playing and having fun if he wasn’t going to keep his word?
Why is this man working with children? If winning a game is more important to him than his own word and the developing egos and self-esteem of pre-teen boys, does he even have any business working with children? Leaving out the fact that he lied to ME… what are these boys learning from him?
Starting this week, Jaben will be missing all Thursday practices. I wasn’t worried about this because I discussed it with Coach Namewithheld earlier in conditioning and he said not to worry about it, that Jaben was doing fine (oh really???) and there was nothing to worry about – if he wanted to play, he’d play. But now that I know how he really is, I’m having trouble trusting what he said and I wonder if I’m going to take my son to every game only to see him standing on the sidelines wondering why he’s not playing. I am not willing to put my child through that.
It’s probably fortunate that I have to go to Open House tonight and won’t be picking Jaben up from practice. This gives me another day to decide how to approach the situation. I need to talk to Coach Namewithheld again to remind him about the Thursday dilemma and to find out how game days will be handled now that the boys have split into 2 teams per grade. Will we miss receiving directions or plans to travel in groups to games if we’re not there on Thursday? Is there any way I can get this information on Wednesday? I don’t know where ANY of these schools are so I will NEED this information or we will not get there. Somehow I doubt he’s going to go out of his way to help me out.
So yeah, football sucks. I really can’t wait for this blasted season to be over so we can move on to things my son enjoys, that I think will actually benefit him. Because other than physically (he’s getting in such good shape, I will give football THAT), I don’t think there’s much positive to be learned here.
And THAT really sucks.