Wednesday, July 15, 2015

The Spark to Light the Fire

Nick has been playing football for exactly six days, eight if you count the games he's watched on TV. On Monday, he was arguing with me about playing despite doctor's orders regarding his broken finger. On Tuesday, he came home from camp ready to quit. The difference? A coach.

Nick has had one kind of coach or another since he was eighteen months old, karate, swimming, fencing, T-ball, baseball, gymnastics, soccer, tennis, and even cross-country. The cross-country coaches were amazing, encouraging him despite the fact that he's built like a fire-plug. Nick's been practicing karate for eight years. He played soccer for five, baseball or T-ball for three. He's had multiple coaches in each one. He's not new to coaches.

Yesterday, a coach yelled at him because he didn't know the game, totally killed his enthusiasm. Enthusiasm for a game never precedes learning the game and most of the time, it comes from a single source, a coach. A coach remembers his days playing the game and decides to give back, to be the man that so many kids looked up to on the field. And lots of times, it a coach, not a parent or a teacher or a friend, who truly lights the fire in a kid's belly. A kid doesn't start out great. He might show the determination to be great on the field, but it's always a coach who provides the spark.

Or kills it before it's lit.

We were told multiple times that Nick could sign up for this football camp with no experience, that the coaches would teach him the right way to play the game, but yesterday, a coach spent most of his time with the boys yelling at Nick because he didn't already know the rules. What the hell?

On Sunday, I was told that a parent would be ejected from the stands for yelling at a kid, that a boy's enthusiasm was that important. It's even in the team's mission statement. So how is it that a coach gets to do the all that yelling? Since when does a kid need to know how to play a game before he's learned how to play the game?

Just asking.

Thank you for listening, jules

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