Parenting Lessons from a Coach

The head softball coach in college was a hard-ass. She was a butch lesbian who put up with no shit from us college age women. She talked softly but carried a big stick. We were all afraid of her. And when we were being goofy about something, she would usually turn around and walk away shaking her head. We were all afraid of her. For good reason. She knew how to make our lives hell. We respected her for it. So if she turned around and walked away from us mid-conversation, we knew we were in trouble.

This was reinforced by the assistant coach – a middle school teacher who graduated from the college about 10 years before. She was the complete opposite of the head coach. She was goofy. She joked around. She was our buddy.  As a result, when she was being a hard ass, she came across as being bitchy and petty. She and I got into a quite a bit. I was never disrespectful, but I would call her on the bullshit.  As a result of this relationship, she actually stood up for me. There was a game senior year where the home plate ump got pissed at me while I was catching and threatened to throw me out of the game. No, I did not call him a cock sucker (name that movie).  He was having a crappy game, a pitch got away from me, and found him square in the face mask. He blamed me. I blamed the sun in my face and a wild pitch. Regardless, she took him to task to keep me in the game.  Then she told me to resist my urge to let the next one hit him too. She knew me too well.

So that was the dichotomy of our coaching staff.  It worked well….until we learned the truth.
Our head coach thought we were hilarious. And when she turned around and walked away, she was doing it to keep from laughing in front of us.  After learning this at the end of junior year, we had a really fun senior year.  As a result, she did call me a bad influence especially after I suggested our slogan for team t-shirts should be ‘our balls are bigger than theirs’.  The baseball team had pissed us off. And we had bigger balls – and we were also better players too. She veto’d it despite the team’s love of it. And I was told to stop being a bad influence. She actually found it funny, but couldn’t let us use it.  Later, she would shake her head at me for asking for dirty jokes to tell my pitcher during games. My usual techniques worked – but dirty jokes – good ones – worked better. A good dirty joke could keep her in the game – and turn balls into strikes.  
I find as a mom that I use the head coach’s technique with my own kids. Just yesterday after breaking up a fight between the girls, Indigo answered me in such a way that I had to turn around and walk away so she wouldn’t see me laughing at her. Once I got back my composure, I turned around and started chewing her out for causing the issues.  Inside, I’m laughing hysterically and applauding her smart ass response to my question. I appreciated it. But like my head coach, it is too soon to let her know this fact.
I mean, you can’t let your kids know you think they are funny when they are in trouble.  
Then they win.

3 Comments Add yours

  1. DCHY says:

    I love, love, LOVE the movie. I consider that to be the BEST baseball movie ever. Not even The Natural, Eight Men Out, Field of Dreams…

    In so many ways, I am him. My body is worth 8 cents a pound, but I’ve got the brains. I have to deal with players who are athletically gifted but have no brains.

    Never punch with your throwing hand. 😉

  2. Grump says:

    A great read. I no nothing about baseball, we used to play Rounders at school with a soft ball. Being originally from England and now living in Australia, the games I watch are Cricket and Football [not American] But the emotions and humour touch all of us. I know what you mean by the Coach/Teacher/Parent, trying not to show how they are cracking up inside, but trying to be in control outwardly.
    Thanks for the read.

  3. Grump says:

    A mistake on the first line. Know Duh!!

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