My musings on different political topics relevant to America today.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Sports Politics

Politics is divisive, but you know what is more divisive than politics? Sports Politics! As a former athlete, I have lived through the trauma of sports politics.  Few things incur man's scorn like their kid not getting to play, or their kid not getting the proper training.  And of course, sports parents always know best how to train their child.  They always know that their kid deserves to play in every game.  And as in every other area of our lives, when a team does not live up to their expectations, which it rarely does, the parent pulls their kid from the team.  Tis a ruthless cycle, for thouest insane soccer mom will neverest understandeth that nothingeth everest perfecteth.  Nevertheless, they truly believe that all shall be sacrificed for the small shot, nay infinitesimal shot, that their kid may ever so slightly perhaps maybe possibly go pro or to the olympics.  Sports politics reveal what is wrong with our society in so many ways.  Indeed, few things show how dark our hearts are like sports politics.
Shooting for the stars is great, just be realistic and
do not encourage bad behavior.

I am not saying that parents should not have their children shoot for the stars.  I am all for that.  I am all for encouraging your children to pursue their dreams.  However, I do have a problem with the whatever it takes mentality that some of these parents have.  Far too often I have seen parents backstab coaches and drop relationships they and their child had cultivated just so their child can have a superb sports career.  Sad thing is, usually they moved to a team that was by all measures no better! 

This in fact happened to my club swim team.  It used to be a big team, and many really good swimmers were on it.  However, all the parents, and many swimmers too, were sooo anal about how coach ran the team.  Yes, Coach made some mistakes every now and then.  He did not always notify everyone properly if a swim practice would be canceled for instance.  He was a little disorganized at times.  However, he was a great coach.  There is no doubt in my mind about that.  He had coached many good swimmers so college level D-1 swimming.  But noooooo, that was not good enough (since nothing would ever be good enough for half these parents).  They were loyal to the assistant coach, and when he left, 2/3rd of the team left with him.  It was dumb, there was no reason for it.  However, in their professional opinion they made the best move.  Who cares if they pushed everyone out of the way and ripped apart a team community for it, its all about their chosen child.  

Another example just like it happened earlier to the team.  We had an assistant coach come on the team.  He was great.  He fixed my breaststroke better than anyone before or since.  He set me ready for takeoff when I started picking up the yardage.  However, he was not good enough.  Parents complained.  My coach let him look for another job, and guess what he got? He got an assistant coach job over at University of Michigan! (That is where Michael Phelps swam for college in case you did not know) Wow, way to go soccer moms (and dads), destroying sports teams since 1776.  

The fact of the matter is that parents think they know better than the coaches what their child needs, but they don't!  It is as frustrating as hell to see, because parents have had no training to know what their child needs.  I have been an assistant coach, and I constantly had this one mom that worked with us question my judgment all the time.  It was ridiculous because she never even saw what her son did.  She was upset he was not going as fast (in swimming) as she wanted.  I bit my tongue, but I wanted to say if you actually go him to practice on time, and if he was not lazy and jumped into the pool on time, then maybe the punk face would go faster! But nooooo, there was no way the blame laid with her perfect son.  It must have laid with none other than me, the ignoramus assistant coach.  

Some parents actually look like this when
they scold their kids over sports.
One more issue related to this is the overzealous participation of the parent's in their kid's sports.  There is nothing wrong with being involved, but tooooo many parents take it overboard.  Some rebuke their children any time they do not measure up to their parent's (usually unrealistic) timeline of how fast their kid should be.  I have seen parents confront their own kids and rebuke them for not going as fast as their friends.  Nothing disgusts me more than when I see that.  Some parents intentionally try to create bitter rivalries between their son and his friends.  They compare to make the kid feel inferior, like unless he goes that fast he is not worth anything.  Kids should be involved in sports because they enjoy them, not because they want to earn their parents love.  If your kid feels they have to drop time or win a game or make a play to feel loved by you, there may be something wrong, just maybe.

All of this is why it is easy to see how dark people truly are.  Their smiles fade quickly when dinner time comes around.  Then, they congregate like a pack of wolves, ready to devour their foes.  Sports was meant to be a recreational activity, not a chance to tear each other's eyes out.  Competition is good within limits.  Competition should not be ruthless, kids should not be pushed to do anything to win.  Such habits will be carried on in life with disastrous results.  Yes, encourage your kid to play a sport.  Confront your coach if you have a problem.  However, do not base your kid's value off of his performance, and do not conspire behind the coach's back when you should talk about whatever it is to his face.  Sports are not the end all, be all.  Do not make them that.  

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