Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Soccer Bit..., er, Mom

My daughter's soccer team, about which I have posted many times, had their third game of the fall season this past saturday. Good news: They won, 7-6! (Go Butterflies!!!)

All of the girls played hard & well, used strategy (a new thing for them), played fair, were uncomplaining, and most importantly, they all seemed to have a good time.

At the end of the game, there were smiles and high-fives all around... or so I thought. While I was talking to one of the girls, her mother approached the coach (I'm the assistant coach) to complain that her daughter only played three minutes in the first half of the game, and that she didn't like the way substitutions were made (I make the substitutions), and that some girls got more time on field than others, and blah blah blah.

I didn't know about this until after the conversation was over. The coach mentioned it to me and told me that she didn't want to include me in the conversation because she knew I would have had a lot of fairly sharp things to say. She was right.

First things first. This poor child has got some serious developmental problems as a result of having fetal alcohol syndrome as an infant, having severe ADHD, and parents that won't/can't control their children (she has four siblings, all with similar problems). I mention this, because this child is a good kid, but because of her issues, she absorbs about 60 percent of my time during practice... when her mother can bother to bring her (which is only about half the time).

Her mother, when she comes to practice, uses the time to either nap in a lawn chair or natter on with the other moms. This mom/child frequently miss practice.

This child frequently refuses to run. I understand her issues, but in fairness to the other players, soccer requires a certain amount of wind. You can't play soccer if you can't run up and down the field.

I played that kid for 5 minutes in the first half and for 14 in the second. She had 19 minutes out of 48, in those 19 minutes, she did as well as she could be expected to do.

The other girls were plated for what their best levels were... my own kid, for example, got 22 minutes of playing time. She has great wind, but really doesn't like the physical confrontation of soccer, she can score goals, but only sometimes. Another kid, we'll call Karen, is a real gazelle, she can run, dribble, and shoot. She had three goals this week. She got 30 minutes.

My point here is that all of the girls get to play, from the one that is really good all the way to the ones that really suck (out of 8 girls, only 5 of them really have much of a clue). I play them according to their skills, abilities, and whether or not the came to practice the week of the game. Why should the kids that make a commitment suffer?

It was a great morning of soccer, ruined.

I was really bothered the rest of the day, because xxxxxxx played so well. She really did.

I decided that I would speak to the mom about it, but when we had practice last night, I found that I couldn't. I was still too irritated. Probably best to let it go... unless it happens again.


Anonymous said...

I applaud your willingness to coach and face the wrath of *parents* who can be less than...gracious.

I went to as many of my kids soccer, softball, b-ball-etc. games as my schedule would allow and it never ceased to amaze and dismay me how combative parents were with coaches & other players.

At a T-ball game, a parent physically attacked a coach & teen-aged umpire.

My daughter played in both park district (everybody plays) leagues and highly competitive, skill building-prep for hs / college level soccer leages and the attitudes of many parents was the same in both. It is the one aspect of her / their sports years that I don't miss. Not one bit.

Play On.

Texas Poppet said...

As the mother of 2 austistic children, I am sorry to read your thoughts on disabled children sharing your child's team.

Elizabeth said...

tp...can't imagine what was said here that made you sorry for the thoughts expressed. The girl got 19 minutes of playing time and she doesn't like to RUN!!! The fact that GF played her and didn't bench her speaks volumes.

Do you suggest she get special treatment? Do you think that GF should express himself in a more politically correct manner when speaking of children with disabilities? What are the right thoughts here?

Sounds to me like your sorrow should be directed towards the mother who doesn't bring her daughter to practice but expects her daughter to play more than her fair share.

Oh, and, the whole drinking to oblivion while you're pregnant thing.

Gunfighter said...

Welcome Poppet,

May I ask what I said in my post that would lead you think I said anything negative about this child, or any other disabled child playing on the team?

Allow me to reiterate... I said that this kid had a great game... she did. I said that I played her to her ability level, which isn't great, I did.

One thing I didn't mention is tha there is one painfully shy girl on the team that is only there because her parents make her play. She doesn't like soccer, doesn't want to run, doesn't like wearing shoes and will rarely kick the ball when it comes her way. She plays, too, although she got even less time than the aforementioned girl did.

In our league, everybody plays.

As a coach I try to get the right combination of strong and weak players on the field, to give the girls the best chance of being competitive. Winning isn't important at this level, they are only 7... but not getting slaughtered IS important.

Some teams only take players that they know are competitive. We''l take pretty much anyone.

I have a co-worker that coaches at the advanced level. I told him about this particular kid. He said he wouldn't have taken her in the first place.

We aren't like that.

So, get your panties out of a knot, and try to read what I wrote in the first place... it might help.



Anonymous said...

Yeah for the win!

I think it's best to not let that mother ruin the fun of the day. I doubt anything you would say could change her. Shine it on, keep giving those kids your best. It may have to be enough to know you're doing your best with her daughter despite the mother's immaturity.