I may become very unpopular today but I don’t really care. I was going to write this post last week but I was in such a twitter about the whole subject I decided to calm down and wait so I could discuss my opinion like a reasonable human being. Here it goes. I am of the opinion that if your child is playing a sport, they are not entitled to play in the games merely because they are on the team.
I will admit, I get rather excited at my children’s sporting events. I try not open my mouth and cheer because once it is open and the first word of praise flies out, I never seem to be able to stop myself from commenting on each play. I always try to be positive but one of my biggest issues always arises when a child/young lady is on the court playing when they shouldn’t be, because they suck. Yes, I went there. If you kid isn’t good, they should sit on the bench, just like my children have done many times. Everyone gets a short chance and if they do well, the coach will most likely keep them in, if not, back to the bench. One mistake is human, two mistakes are plausible, but after that, SUBSTITUTE that child out!
Tabitha is the biggest athlete in our family and she was an amazing soccer goalie, a great volleyball player and a rather gifted discus and shot put thrower. She is so going to kill me for telling you about the last two. Either way, she has always worked hard at every sport she participated in. She never missed practices, had a great work ethic and yet despite her talent and devotion sometimes she didn’t get much playing time. This was very common in the volleyball world because there are so many great volleyball players in our area it is hard to be a starter. Some seasons she started and others she didn’t.
Guess what, it broke my heart and bummed me out when she sat on the bench but I NEVER ONCE COMPLAINED TO A COACH. Sometimes a girl who wasn’t in my unbiased opinion as good as Tabitha, would start in front of her or get more playing time. Yes, I would get super irritated and my panties would get all in a wad while I sat on the bleachers picking my cuticles but I always tried to observe and figure out the reasoning behind the coach’s decision. Even though I thought it was super unfair, I kept my mouth shut. OK, I would complain to my hubby and a few token confidant’s but never would I breathe a word to the coach.
The reason I am even talking about this subject is because Trinity is playing volleyball at her school. She is new to the game and not really amazing, but she has a good attitude and is trying hard. I was not surprised that she didn’t play much during her first game last week, but she did get a chance to play a few minutes. I was super grateful for those few minutes because based on her performance in practice and what I have seen in the backyard, I wasn’t sure if she would even touch the court during game time. Please note that every girl with good enough grades in the 5th and 6th grade are welcome to join the team. No tryouts, they are all welcome. Clearly based on that criteria I feared Trinity may not get much playing time with 16 girls on the team and I warned her in advance. “Have fun, cheer for the other girls and if you make it on the court, play hard.” Well, Trinity was thrilled when her team won the first game. She gave me one small frown about not playing much and I responded, “You were lucky to play at all. If you want to play during the games more, you need to have Tabitha help you after work. You have to practice more.” Simple enough or so I thought.
Apparently not all parents prescribe to this same philosophy. Some parents believe that all the children should play in the game regardless of their skill level,” IT SHOULD BE FAIR”. Really, why should it be fair, life isn’t fair and kids should learn that a young age. Not everyone is rich, or beautiful, or smart, or a musician, or a mathematician, or a computer whiz, or an athlete. I could go on and on as I am sure you can imagine. Each of us have strengths and weakness and as parents we are supposed to help our children navigate through all the different activities and discover what they like and are good at. Not everyone is good at everything and just because you make the team doesn’t mean you deserve to the opportunity to play during the games.
If your kid doesn’t want to sit on the bench don’t complain to the coach, do something about it. If you kid really wants to play, they should work harder, ask for extra help and they will improve. If they don’t improve, maybe it isn’t their sport. Either way remember they are a part of a team, playing a game with the goal being to win and have fun. As one of Tabitha’s favorite coaches used to say all the time, “there is no I in team”
With that being said, parents should appreciate the fact that children have the opportunity to participate in so many different sports nowadays. I think parents may forget or not realize that when my father was young not everyone got to play little league baseball, soccer, and football. They had to try out for the teams at a young age and if they didn’t get on a team, they did not have the opportunity to play. The leagues didn’t find more coaches and start more teams so everyone could play, they were just out of luck. Sorry, try again next year. Now everyone gets the chance to play on teams until junior high or high school without even trying out.
Appreciate your child for who they are and what they are capable of doing and stop complaining to the coach if you kid doesn’t get to play. Get a grip!