Email me if you have something to say. I like you.


Sunday, October 14, 2007

Hello parents...

That was the heading of the email we received from the X-Man's soccer coach, mere hours after a (to him, apparently) heartbreaking 3-0 loss. And I'm going to share with you the text of the email that was so important that it had to be written and sent immediately, even though his two small children were with grandparents for the evening. I guess he and his wife were bored, or fighting, like we do sometimes when we're presented with an unexpected block of freedom.

Hello. I know, today was frustrating.

Huh? Oh, you mean because, like we do every Saturday, we fought with our kids when they couldn't find their soccer uniforms and didn't want to eat breakfast or tie their own shoes? And we waited until five minutes before we had to leave for the games to tell them to change. Yeah, that is frustrating.

I am frustrated. Being the coach is not an easy position to hold.

Wait a second. I'm sensing some drama.

I enjoy being with the kids; playing with and helping them develop confidence and the ability to work as a team.

Awwww...that's great! Just how a volunteer coach should feel!

But, the past few weeks have become my worst nightmare;

Oh, no! He has cancer? His wife has cancer? His kid has cancer? I'm afraid to read what follows the semi-colon.

the kids just do not seem to want to play anymore. I am not sure why???

Oh. That's it? I'm actually more disturbed by the inappropriate semi-colon you used a sentence or two ago. The fact that this semi-colon works doesn't help; I can't get past it; that semi-colon is my worst nightmare; just kidding. If a bunch of kids not wanting to play soccer is your worst nightmare, I'm thrilled for you. I'm guessing a bad week for this guy is one in which he doesn't win the lottery.

I need for you to sit down with them and not beat around the bush, and discuss why they are on a soccer team. Ask them if they want to play???

As much as I want to meet this guy's needs, I don't even meet my husband's, so I probably won't do this for him. Also, I already know the answer. He does want to play. Sometimes. I'm also not feeling that last sentence. What's up with the three question marks? And that's not even a question, it's an order, right?

Do we simply want a place for the kids to run around and have fun?


Or do we want to develop some competitive attributes that will allow them to succeed in the world someday.

I'm confused. Is this a question? Because there is no question mark. By the way, I know my grammar is less than stellar, but if this guy can rag on the way my kid and his friends play soccer, I can cut on his grammar. He's no pro footballer and I'm no English professor.

This is the time to develop these behaviors.

Damnit! We've done it now! I hate that we're missing this window.

When they reach middle school and beyond, nothing is going to be handed to them.

That's right. It's a cold, cruel world out there. And the only time to teach this is on the soccer field when they're six years old.

What I need from you all is to work with them.

Sigh. Here we go with his needs again. Am I going to have to go to couples counseling with this guy? I hope his insurance pays for it.

Play 10 minutes in the backyard each afternoon, just letting them kick and dribble the ball.

Wait, so you're saying I shouldn't keep him chained up in the basement in the afternoon?

Let them kick a ball against a wall.

Sorry, but no. We just had the house painted. Do you know how much that costs? Maybe I can work a deal with the neighbors; their house is brick.

Do something.

Like what?

Explain to them what you know about soccer.


If you do not know anything, do some research.

Is he serious? Should I Google, "how to kick a ball with kid" or "how to keep kid from being a loser for life" or "what is soccer?"

We have kids that can barely kick the ball, and I cannot teach them how 1 hour a week...

Wow. I think I'm off the hook here, though, because I've seen my kid kick the ball once or twice. And, seriously, does it really take more than an hour a week to teach kids how to kick? Does my kid have a disability I haven't noticed? Is he missing a leg? Or a foot? Oh. My. Gosh! Why haven't I noticed?!

And that ellipsis is scaring me; it feels like a threat. I hope he doesn't know where we live.

I told the kids today that they deserved to lose, that certainly wasn't the nicest thing that I could have said, but it is the truth.

This guy has amazing self awareness*. He knows this wasn't the nicest thing he could have said. All those other coaches are lame. They say stuff like, "You guys did a great job today. High five! See you at practice!" Losers.

We need to stop holding their hands and encourage them to be bold and courageous.

Yeah! Let's whip those wussies into shape! They're pathetic!

Telling them that they did great today would have been a blatant lie, and I will not lie to them to make the kids feel good.

You're a good man, coach. Why don't you go ahead and tell them there's no Santa? We can't continue to coddle those little first grade babies!

This e-mail may have offended some of you,

In fact, it did not. But it did amuse me and I forwarded it to several people, who forwarded it to more people. I look forward to seeing it referenced on within the year. By the time that happens, the team will have morphed from a group of hapless six year old soccer players to a Special Olympics team. And you, sir, will look like a total jerk.

and if so that was certainly not my intent.

Was, too. I know your type.

Mediocrity is not acceptable.

Well, I disagree. I've based my entire life on the principle that mediocrity is a worthy goal and a blissful state. And my life is awesome. If you, however, believe that it's unacceptable, you may want to have a chat with your elementary school English teachers and take a little refresher course in grammar and punctuation. Just sayin'.

If they try hard, and really mean it, then there is nothing more we can do.


At that point I will be happy,


and they will have something to be proud of; themselves.

What the hell is up with you and the semi-colon, buddy? If you love it so much, why don't you marry it?

Thank you

You're very welcome. But, for what?

coach keith

Yeah, I'm leaving your name in there. I'm guessing your low self esteem leads you type your name in lower case. Or maybe you just don't know any better. Either way, it's fine by me. I embrace mediocrity.

I realize some of you may be thinking I should take the bull by the horns and do something less passive aggressive about this letter and, I assure you, as a mediocre but basically decent parent, I've considered my options. I thought about talking to the coach, but I can't imagine that would go anywhere good. I considered forwarding the e-mail to the director of the YMCA soccer program, but I'm not sure what I would expect him to do about it. I briefly toyed with the idea of, as the team owner's sponsor's wife, having him fired. Or destroying him, à la Footballers' Wive$. In the end, I called my sister, who has a lot of personal experience with sports at different levels. She found the e-mail hilarious, by the way.

She reminded me that she once sat out for most of a basketball season after my mom (legitimately, but unwisely) complained about a coach. It's obvious from the e-mail that Coach Keith is not completely right in the head reasonable. Who knows how he would react to an intervention? I asked if she had ever had a bad coach when she was little (she was a t-baller) and how my parents handled it. Dad would talk to her before and after the game and explain what he didn't like about the coach's behavior. Mediocre as I am, I think I can summon up a decent sportsmanship chat or two. For the record, I think sportsman(or woman-)ship and competition go hand in hand. I think a good sport tries his best, because to do less is rude to the other team and the other people on his team. I want my kids to learn to be competitive without being bloodthirsty or feeling worthless if they lose.

In the end, I considered how the X-Man might be affected by Coach Keith. When the X-Man goes to bed at night, right before he goes upstairs, I tell him, "Teeth. Potty. Read. I love you!" That may sound cold, but if I elaborate, he gets confused. Inevitably, even with the simple version, after five minutes he calls down the stairs, "MOM! What comes after teeth?" So, I seriously doubt he has any recollection of some stupid speech his coach gave four days ago. He probably doesn't even remember the game. Or how to kick a ball. Sorry, Coach!

Namasté, y'all!

*But, sadly, very little awareness of when to use a semi-colon and when to use a comma.


Anonymous said...

I love my sister in law! VA

Lizzie said...

I love my sister! But not so much that coach.

kristin said...

What an idiot.

I've been coaching 6th/7th grade volleyball this year, and even at this level (which is what, 7 years older than X?) I am having them focus on skill development to the exclusion of winning. Who cares if they win? They lose all the time. They lose to teams who they could technically beat, because I want them to focus on learning how to play the game properly. I want them to be better players, and have fun, and learn the game. No semi-colons necessary.

Choose the higher path. This guy will be a blip on the journey to a love of sports for X.

(I'm a Yaaps poster - k. You might not know me, but as a coach, I wanted to read your experience.)

Anonymous said...

That guy is nuts! What's he doing coaching little kids?

Unknown said...

Hehe, I'm looking forward to reading this letter to the DH so that we can indulge in the mutual eye-rolling that is the glue of our relationship.

Meagan Francis said...

OMG! This e-mail is so sad...but your treatment of it was absolutely hilarious.

Margie said...

Oh for heaven's sake! I was already appreciating Cassie's current soccer coach (who, after their 4 - 0 loss during the first game, sent each family an email about what a great job their kid did during the game) but this makes me want to, you know, kiss his feet or something. And she's a whole 3 years gosh, we've probably missed our window to teach her how to be miserable if she loses. ~sigh!

Anonymous said...

You're sure you don't want to forward this to Coach keith?
I would enjoy seeing his face reading this commentary. Loved it!

Sparklypooh said...

Don't forget the proper usage of question marks???

Lisa Townsley Winn said...

Maybe instead of emailing the blog link to Coach Keith you should email him the link to this grammer site on proper semi-colon usage:

I also found out has shareware for my Mac; Now I can play solitaire. Thanks!

Caroline said...

I love your commentary so much I want to marry it - you had me laughing aloud! This guy is truly a piece of work.