Friday, May 20, 2005

End Of A Season

Some may not know, but I coached the girls soccer team this year at Baumholder High School. First time ever coaching soccer. Might be the last.

We had some good times this season even though we didn't win a game. Until this past week, we never had a full team to put on the field. When we finally got eleven players out there, things started to click, but by then it was too late. We were in the European tournament and very quickly the season was over.

Throughout the season I kept hearing over and over that I shouldn't be the one coaching the team because I had no experience on a soccer field. That cast a dark cloud over the girls team that never went away. In fact that dark cloud made me want to quit coaching more than a few times. But I never did, mainly because I never saw the girls quit. Even when we faced teams with fifteen or twenty players to put on the field against our eight or nine, the girls never quit. Even when we were losing four, five, or six to zero, they never quit. And I think some of them actually believed in me, and because of that, I couldn't quit on them.

But now the season is over, I have to ask myself if I want to go through it all again. Put up with parents who'll say the most outrageous things to your face, students who'll make fun of a team that is busting its collective ass to represent their school, or "fans" in the stands who shout out the rudest comments imaginable to fourteen and fifteen year old girls who are just trying to play a game. While I may have seen some of the best in sport in the girls on my team who had faith in me, their teammates, and themselves, I also saw the ugly side, and frankly, the ugly side takes most of the joy out of the rest.

So I won't coach soccer next year. I'm sure some will be thrilled to hear that. Maybe a few would want me to reconsider, but I just don't see myself doing it again. I'll stick to coaching tennis in the fall, and the next time I see a soccer coach taking hell from those around him or her, I'll feel some very deep sympathy and admire the ones who can last a lot longer than me.


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