06 June 2007

Some Serious Shit About Coaches

(In which I bow down to coaches and use the word "blessing")

This is important, even if you aren't into the whole sports thing. This is about coaches, and how important they are to kids growing up in this country.

Young people need role models. What with Dubya, Paris, R. Kelly, movies and MTV, the future leaders of this country need some real-life folks to point them in the right direction.

Coaches are bringing it, every day. I can literally see a difference in the way my son carries himself this year. Much of that came directly from sports. Good coaches are a blessing, y'all.

Those of you who know me just now choked to see me use the word "blessing", didn't you? (Please, I could hear the what-the-hells from here.) Well, the only other word I could come up with on the fly that conveyed what I'm thinking was "godsend". So yeah, coaches are a blessing. Goddamn right.

They don't get paid much, and some are straight up volunteers. They give so much more than just instruction. They are mentors for these young folks. They are modeling good sportsmanship, responsibility, commitment, and teamwork.

Life skills, here, people. Skills we actually use day to day, unlike sophomore algebra.

I appreciate that several of my son's coaches in particular have been wonderful models for healthy male-to-male interaction. For those who think sports coaches must be big into that stereotypical, macho bullshit, I have not seen it here. These guys have been hands-on with the kids; they hug these kids, put their arms around them, hold their faces and look them straight in the eye while telling what they've done right and what they can work on. They say things like,

I love you man; you pulled it out today!

I couldn't ask for any more from you.

I am so proud of you!

That's okay; you know you're still my boy. You'll get it.

You gave your best; that's what we do.

Way to apply what you learned!

You had good form out there today.

Things that build a kid up. I see my son and his teammates hug each other, and walk with an arm over the other's shoulders. I see them stick together off the field, help each other out.

Female athletes are still working on equal sports status with the men. They still have to deal with being called "The Lady Muskrats/Wildcats/Pelicans". They don't get cheerleaders or assemblies. Coaches don't give a damn about that; they're coaching athletes, not girls. I see the difference in my daughter, because they actually have a high jump coach this year, one who really cares about the kids. It means a lot to her. I hope he's here again next year. (Cross your fingers that he gets that teaching job ...)

And may I also add, while I'm at it, that I especially appreciate the African American men who are stepping up to mentor these kids. Kids of color in our district do not have many mentors who look like them. The images they see in the media and in their own school environment are mostly White.  Well, the positive images are, anyway. African American males face a lot of issues unique to them. That's a whole'nother post, but suffice it to say that when puberty hits and these kids don't look like little boys anymore, people react to them differently. They need positive role models who look like them and who have an awareness of what they're experiencing. The White kids need to see positive Black role models too. Again, another post. Anyway, to the African American men in our community who take time out of their lives to purposefully guide these kids, I appreciate that. Very, very much.

Coaches make a difference.

They show up.

As a single mom, I appreciate the hell out of that.


  1. I agree with you on how kick ass it is to have these people providing their time and effort to improving kid's lives. I had several good coaches as a child, as well as a few awesome teachers who helped mentor me and add to my self esteem. It made all the difference in the world for this gay kid who felt out of place and less than, to have someone build me up and help me to achieve confidence. Bless all these good people who take the time to care!

  2. Bubbas' Nightmare07 June, 2007

    Two great posts in two days! Wowza, ma'am!

    Yes, good coaches can make a heckuva difference to a kid. I wish the Son-Unit had at least tried a sport in school. It would likely have made a difference in his slacker-tude; hell knows I didn't manage to.

  3. Thank you for lurking...I am having a great time with the pictures.....my kids have been long gone and grandchildren are into sports....me? I like Coach handbags. I'll be back...sort of lurking sort of obvious. Hope you visit again.

  4. Good coaches ARE a blessing. The Child has had one of each, a terrific Herman Boone calibre coach and one who was and is a raging a-hole. I hate him. He shouldn't be called a coach. He likes to win, not coach. He never worked with the kids, yelled when they made mistakes, had favorites and generally, oh, I'll shut up. I ranted about him enough in my blog when it was all happening.

    Point is, those who take the job seriously and do what they do to build up and encourage young people are frakking heroes.

    I'm so glad your kids have had such positive experiences.

  5. Lorraine: Yes, unfortunately, the bad ones can make just as big an impression, and even do lasting damage. Glad your daughter had a decent coach to balance that crap out. There was a track coach at the school last year who told the girls they needed to "lose some of that meat" if they wanted to make it over the bar. WTF? The girls he directed it at were so friggin' fit it wasn't funny. I was livid. He was unaware of a girl in the group who had a history of an eating disorder. Bastard. How do you undo that damage? Not to mention that it's highly inappropriate for a grown man to comment on teenage girls' bodies. Anyway, I called the principal and athletic director. They fired his ass, and he is not able to work in the entire district as a coach. Assclown.

    But all the other coaches my kids have dealt with have been just wonderful, upstanding people.

  6. you are so right, girl. a good coach can make the difference between a good life for a kid or a life lost to delinquency, dope or despair. i think sports for kids can be a salvation. i especially like the coaches who insist on academic excellence too. it's a setup for a kid to believe s/he's going to be able to go pro and so doesn't bother to focus on school beyond making the minimum necessary to participate.

    the best coaches instill discipline, self esteem, respect for others, confidence, and so many other things, all of which can save a kid in trouble or add a gloss of joy to the life of a kid who's just rocking along doing well.

    my husband coached soccer for years and years. he was amber valletta's coach when she looked like a little boy and had to bring a birth certificate to play on the girl's team :-)

    we've run into amber over the years when she's returned to tulsa and she always tears up when she sees mike, grabs him and hugs him, telling him what a huge difference he made in her life. that's just one kid, who happened to get incredibly famous, but we run into his kids all over town and the vast majority are living great lives.

  7. Lynette -- aMEN on the academic thing. If the sports can them get them a little something extra added to the scholarship package, whoo-hoo for them, but grades first.

    If a coach stresses grades, the kids really seem to take it seriously -- so different than Mom nagging about homework again.

    Oh that's got to feel great for your hubby! No better payoff.

  8. "They show up."

    Still, the Lady Muskrats aren't as bad as, say, the Lady Beavers.


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