Friday, May 13, 2005

Friday the 13th

This is the dialog of an email that I sent to Adams Principal. That will give you an idea of how my day/week/month has been lately

This evening Adam and David (sorry I can't spell his last name) were kicked off the team because they left practice early. Adam has been told by me that in no uncertain terms he is to be home by 6:30 because of the amount of homework he has to complete. When the two of them tried to leave at 6:10, Mike questioned their commitment to the team. He accused them of leaving because they were doing a running drill and told them if they walked away they would have to turn in their jerseys tomorrow. Adam knew that the wrath of his mother was worse than any wrath of a coach and chose to leave. WHen he called me and told me of this I immediately went tot he field and confronted Mike.

He claimed that no other parent or kid has ever complained about his coaching in the umpteen years he has been doing it. Maybe I am the first one with the gall enough to do so. I infromed him that if he paid more attention to what was going on around him instead of taking himself out of the games so often he would realize there was a lot of animosity towards him. At one game Turner's broother had to give signs from behind Mike on the third baseline because Mike had just taken himself out of the game. He got mad that a kid had missed a sign and that the game was way behind, but that is no reason to give up on your team. One parent had to be counseled to stay in the bleachers and not go say something to him right there on the field. Whether he said something to anyone else after I don't know.

He complained that the kids don't show him the respect he wants, I explained that is becuase he hasn't earned it. As a teacher or a coach you are given an amount of respect at the beginning just beacuase of your position, but if you continue to belittle students or dismiss them or yourself then that respect diminishes. You can not expect it to continue unless it is deserved. He claimed I had no idea what I was talking about that I don't know what it is like working with a bunch of ungrqateful teenagers. Sorry, wrong there also, both of you are aware of what I do for a living so I explained that to him as well. He accused me of talking about him behind his back and taking my issues about him to higher sources. I informed him that as a matter of respect I took the issue of what he said to the kids to Jim as opposed to him directly because I felt it was something that needed to be addressed by his supervisor not by a parent. Kevin I didn't even bring it to you because Mike apologized to the boys the next day and everything went on as normal. Mike at one point threatened me with him leaving the team, saying I was "this much away from making him quit". Being confronted by a parent and having your faults pointed out is not a reason to walk away but maybe it is an excuse.

Adam is telling me he doesn't care if he doesn't play tomorrow, he says he doesn't want to play Mickey Mantle now because he found out Mike not Ralph is coaching. This is a kid who has played baseball since he was 4 years old, spring summer fall and winter. He has played in the rain and even said he would play in the snow when we were contemplating moving back to Michigan. He can recite stats from any major league baseball player, he can give you contract details on any Dodger (but can't get that damn Algebra down!), and now because he has a coach who is more into himself and the fact that his team is not up to his standards he no longer wants to play. I won't stand for that. If Adam is to be taken off the team for leaving early once, then I have a huge issue. I need a phone call from one of you as soon as possible because I will not let my kid give up on his dreams because of Mike. I also will not let him just concede. He says it's not a big deal, I don't care anymore, no that's not ok. It is a big deal and I care about it.

I told Mike that Adam would be at the bus tomorrow in uniform ready to go, but as I read back and think back to the entire season, this has gotten bigger than 2 kids being cut from the team, this is an issue of someone who may not be ready for the role of authority that has been given him. That maybe the responsibilty and pressure of coaching alone has gotten the better of him. I don't know the reason but I hope that we can find a resolution.

The Principal emailed me back immediately (it was about 8:30 in the evening) and said he would call me at work in the morning but that Adam should have his uniform with him at school. Well he called at about 9am and informed me that because of many extrenuating circumstances the coach was being suspended for the next days game and that the boys were being told they were going to the game. It ended up being a great game the team won 8 to 6. Neither Adam nor David played but they went and were a part of the team. I am not naive enough to think that my son didn't have a few choice words to say to his coach on many occasions so I understand the benching. This was the last game of the season and hopefully said coach won't be in charge of summer ball, or else Adam doesn't want to play. Life is hard when you're 14. And not too easy when you are 37 either.


  1. Wow!! I am not looking forward to anything like this in my future. I think you handled it well, especially acknowledging that Adam isn't a completely innocent, put-upon 14-year old boy.

  2. In my opinion you are all wrong. Does the boy have a cell phone to call you and let you know? Even so I am sure that if he does not that there is a phone wherever his practice is. Yes his school work should be more important, but if that is the case then why is he playing baseball. He is getting all these bad grades, yet you continue to let him play ball. But that is just my opinion. He should of called you asked you what he should do then make a rational decision. Or at least TELL THE COACH what was going on. And maybe have you talk to the coach. But by choosing to ignore his coach he should have to suffer the consequences. And by you taking care of his problems with not get him anywhere. He needs to be taught what is right and what is wrong. No matter what the circustances may be his coach is in charge. Maybe his coach isn't the best coach in the world but he is in charge. You would feel the same way if you were in charge. Walking off and deciding that your word is better then the coaches in completly wrong. He is 14 years old he is old enough to know that he should call you so that either you can choose what he does or have you talk to the coach about it. Taking care of his problems will get him nowhere.

    In all respect to you and your son, I hope all gets better with this.

  3. Wasn't Kat just saying something about the outside world coming in. Wow, you read a blog and you think you know the answer and should share. Here is a hint "anonymous": you shouldn't!!

    I love the assumption that every kid has a cell phone (while probably true still a pretty big assumption). I also love this line "Yes his school work should be more important, but if that is the case then why is he playing baseball." So if the parent thinks that school work is important than a kid should not be doing anything else. Kids need balance in their lives and parents are there to help them.

    Other people are such a pain in the ass.

  4. Let me add a little clarification; Yes Adam has a cell phone, however unless he carries it in his jock strap it isn't practical for him to call me. No there is no pay ohone available, nor would he be allowed to break practice to make a call. His schoolwork is not low enough to be pulled from sports, but it is always more iportant that sports and Adam has been sat during a game by me and by previous coaches for any problems that may have occured as a result of grades. He informed the coach before practice that he needed to leave at 6pm.