Time is a great healer. For some of us, it is only the passage of time that will heal negative experiences and painful episodes. Once the time passes, we gratefully forget and move one. But that pain and anxiety can quickly return when we are faced with the negative situation yet again. Being involved in youth sports, you quickly learn there are two types of people. There are those who demonstrate incredible character and those who are, simply, losers. And I don't mean the ones who come out on the negative side of the scoreboard. I've known some winning teams that have been big losers. I'm talking about the kind of losers your parents told you to stay away from. Most of the time the biggest losers are the parents of the athletes on the field. Sadly it's a common occurrence in youth sports today. To be honest, I think it's the biggest problem. Parents will ruin a kid and a game faster than a speeding bullet. There are parents who berate and humiliate their kids and parents who we like to refer to as "smoke blowers." (Those parents who think their kid can do no wrong. That's a whole other blog subject on a different day.) Both are losers.
Today we traveled to Lodi for the Section Championship high school baseball game between Escalon and Hilmar. This match up is always explosive as these two towns invest heavily in their high school sports programs and in their kids. There is nothing quite like it. It's a huge advantage to come from a small, one high school town that supports the team. Today's game was no exception. The stands were packed with fans. And the kids really put on a show. It was a terrific game on both sides of the ball with Escalon coming out ahead 2-1 in the end. Really, really good baseball.
As we were leaving, my nephew said, "It must be hard to be a coach's wife."
I assured him it was. And in that moment a flood of negative experiences came back to remind me just how hard it actually is. I was reminded how my participation is different from every other fan when my husband is on the field. My behavior is adjusted to avoid conflict as much as possible. I really hate sitting in the stands and usually don't if at all possible. I am careful about who I'm around and stay very aware of my surroundings during the game. I'm hypersensitive to any comments I hear and try way too hard to interpret body language. It's very distracting, and to be honest not worth the effort some days.
So tonight, I'm thankful for the gentle reminder. Summer football practice begins next week and as we prepare for the upcoming season and inevitable controversy, I'm thinking ahead and already planning a strategy. It's always my goal to go through an entire season without a confrontation and I'm usually successful. Time has also gifted me with much thicker skin and I don't offend so easily anymore. I will however, defend my husband and his staff anytime their character or integrity is questioned. I know what goes into that job and I'm not about the let anyone go without hearing my opinion if I'm forced to listen to theirs. I'm prepared now and feel empowered. I know what is right and just and I am confident in my ability to stand up and defend myself and those who work so hard for and with kids they love.