If we win, I’ll read that it’s because the more talented girls got too much playing time; that I’m too competitive; that I’m pushing them too hard; that I’ve managed to crush the souls of the players on the bench. If we lose, it’s because I played the developing players too much; I am ruining the stronger players’ chance at future glory; I’m not pushing them hard enough. What do we even do during practice anyway?
I know what you’ve told her about me and I know what you’ve said about her teammates. And yet, your daughter and I both keep showing up. We keep trying.
I may not do it the way you would. I may not speak to your daughter the way you would, but she needs more than one voice in her head.
I am not a professional. I am a parent who loves the game and has the desire to pass that on. I accepted the role I was offered; not for a pay-cheek, not for status, certainly not for praise. I accepted this role because I have been where your daughter is now. I see myself in her missteps and in her triumphs. I have felt them all and I feel them all over again through her. I, too, have been bruised by a ball, pulled muscles in tough tackles and played with a broken heart. I also had coaches who believed in me, just as I believe in your daughter.
Knowing I had someone in my corner who challenged me and called out my excuses was the greatest reward of my years in sport. I vaguely remember the final scores of even the most important games, but I sure remember how I felt. Winning doesn’t promise pride, just as losing doesn’t guarantee disappointment.
Coach A. Bilson
Please Do Not Ever Forget That…