Saturday, October 15, 2011


Do you have any words that immediately bring a song to mind?
I have dozens, if not hundreds.

For example: Predominantly (which I prefer to spell Predominately)

Nice word.
Immediately drops me into an Eminem lyric.

That's not exactly what happens with Confrontation.
Not the word.
The suffix.


This is a recent phenomena.

B.o.B. linked to a YouTube video for his song: Dr. Aden

Almost every line ends with an ATION suffixed word.
Justification, nation, vacation, civilization, situation, obligation...

In fact. I think he uses every word except confrontation.
Dr. Aden by the way is from a very cool B.o.B. mixtape: No Genre

So tonight I'm writing about a confrontation.
I think that's the right word for it.

In our 6 year old soccer game today, we had a confrontation situation.

I am so LUCKY to have my Dad helping me coach both kids' soccer teams this fall.
With our 6 year old team, he guides the Defense and I take care of the Offense.

Because the kids are young, in fact most of our team is 5-year-olds, we stand on the field with the players.
It helps.
Correct direction.
Help the kids find the ball.
Stop spinning in circles. Literally, I mean like they're doing a dizzy bat race.
Stop playing in mud.

The kids really need the extra assistance out there on the field.
If we want the game to resemble soccer.

Today, near our team's goal, the opponent kicked a ball that was headed out of bounds.
On its way, the ball hit my Dad's leg and continued out of play.

It was actually kinda funny.








So here we have a parent on the opposing team.
Screaming at my Dad from the sideline.

Um. Maybe it's a joke?

Guy is standing with a confrontational posture.


My Dad and I don't deal well with bad parents.
We don't deal well with criticism of volunteers.
We, selfishly I suppose, definitely don't deal well with criticism of US!


So, I respond.

"Um. Stop yelling dude"


I would have expected a different reaction.

Now, my Dad goes immediately from happy defensive coordinator to steam-coming-out-of-ears.

That's why I woke up this morning.
So I could physically restrain my Dad because some jerk is screaming at him during a youth soccer game.


I woke up this morning to take a leisurely bike ride.
Acclimate to the cooler temperature. Experience the strong winds (40+MPH) as predicted.

So, I have my Dad yelling at this guy now.

Our family has been involved with this youth athletic league for 24 years.
Since I was 7.
We take some pride in that.
And we KNOW how the games are supposed to WORK.

The kids have fun.
They learn a little bit about the sport.
Hopefully, the experience was good. And they come back next year.

This is not serious.
This is not competitive.
And if we're gonna have a parent violate those ideas.
He's gonna get corrected early.

Let me lighten the mood.

"OK sir. I'll review the Instant Replay"

He keeps yelling.
He's quite serious.

I can barely keep my Dad restrained.
I mean restrained with what he's gonna say to this guy.

I want to lead the conversation.
We've already got ONE problem.
We don't need more.

"Sir. Try to keep in mind.
These are 6 year olds.
5 year olds.

Mind you, we had switched sides of the field at half time.
So I'm doing all of this right in the middle of ALL of the other team's parents.

Not to mention.
Inevitably in front of my neighbors.
Past, current and future classmates of my kids.
Past, current and future players on teams I have coached. Am coaching. Will coach.

Completely irks me.

Guy yells one final time.
I reiterate that we'll consult the Instant Replay.


That's right. Now where were we?
They kicked it over the End Line behind our goal.
Let's set up the goal kick.

Times like this I wish I wore a heart rate monitor.
Because it is NOT easy to flip a switch back to happy little coach.
For me or my Dad.


And that's how my morning went.

And it can't end there.
That wouldn't be fun.

I read the news. Alot.
I like to know the world around me.
I know that people are popping off every day.
I do not want confrontation.
I like peace.

The game ends.
Our kids are happy.  They had a fun game.
And I hope they didn't absorb too much of the drama.

I WANT to explain.
Talk to the kids and parents.
Give THEM the perspective.

But no.
First, lets have the teams shake hands after the game.

Line up at mid-field.
Right hand out.
"Good game. Good game."

Well this is a nice development.
Not only is JERK an overly vocal PARENT.
He's also the assistant COACH.

Walking out to the field to shake hands.

"Uh. Dad.
I think it's best if you just leave now.

Grudgingly, he does.

So we high-five the other team.
I shake the head coach's hand.
She was so nice.

The assistant COACH.
The yelling PARENT.
And. Ha. The head coach's HUSBAND.

We have an extended handshake.
We talk midfield for 5 minutes.

It takes 4 minutes for him to apologize.

I'm not really interested in replaying what he had to say.
Because he had a very narrow view.
"Your team had 2 coaches on the field and your Dad was in the way."

I'm sorry.
I made a little list above.
It involved 5-year-old kids spinning in circles playing in mud.
We're gonna try to avoid that.

So among my recommendations for this COACH/PARENT/HUSBAND.
If he wants to yell at VOLUNTEER COACHES in a FIVE and SIX year old soccer league.
He needs to find a different league.

If he doesn't correct his behavior NOW.
It will get worse.

It is not fair to his child.

I ended the conversation.
A conversation that could have continued aimlessly for another 5 minutes.
I ended with this.

"And by the way. My name is Mike. And I'll probably see you out here for the next 13 years."

I hope he gets it.
Got it.

YOU know how it works.
Our kids, next season, could just as easily be teammates. Or classmates.
We could be co-coaches.

THINK about your impact.

And try to do BETTER.
It will make you a better COACH.

After the game, my kids and I walked across the parking lot to the playground.
They played with a girl on our team.
I talked with her mom.

We talked about the confrontation.
And why some parents push too far.

The best part of that conversation.
Was her recommendation.

Bill Cosby - Himself

It gives you a chance to laugh at yourself as a parent.
To laugh at your kids.

To not take all of this so seriously.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

If only i could hand this out to every one of my softball parents. I get it- you all think your girls are going to NCAA. Most aren't. In fact, in my six years coaching, I can think of three who MIGHT play in college. So how about we just let them have fun!!!