Monday, June 12, 2006

Compensation

I am not a huge sports fan. I have zero athletic ability although I like to be active. Phys. Ed. class was an excersize in torture when I was a kid. If I could have spent the class climbing trees, skipping rope, rowing a boat, or hiking for miles I'd have been fine. But no, it always involved putting some implement in my hand and requiring me to make contact with some other object, or throwing a ball in a very specific spot. And then some macho ape teacher dripping in testosterone (this description works for the female PE teachers I had too) would berate me for my inabilty to do this activity.

I once had a boyfriend INSIST I learn to play golf. It wasn't that I had no desire to share his interest. I just knew it would be hopeless. I gave in and he was screaming at me by the third hole. I warned you! Another friend thought it would be fun to play raquetball together. She was low-key. I trusted her to be gentle even though I'd be locked in a box where the ball would careen off every surface and most likely hit me. I didn't realize her fiance was bloodthirsty and figured I could be playing at world class level with a mere introduction to the game. I caught a ball with my face. That was fun!

I was mortified to learn college had a PE requirement. Oh well, at least I could pick what classes to take. My personal criteria for selecting PE classes were no pushups (can't do em), no team sports (I wasn't about to subject myself to more abuse for loosing a game), and no distance running (bad experiences in Jr Hi with out of control asthma and PE teachers who told me to push through it). Fencing, Karate, and Modern Dance met my criteria and I actually enjoyed all of them. I even came in second in the class fencing tournament. Woohoo! I actually played intramural volleyball all through college too because there was an unusually tolerant team who needed players and were ok with my low level of ability, it was about fun and camaraderie for them.

Mr. Lime likes tennis and I agreed to learn to play. He taught me without screaming at me. How refreshing! I was thrilled. I still had zero skill but I enjoyed dinking the ball back and forth over the net and spending time with him. He decided I was not worth playing tennis with because I was so horrible at it I bored him to tears. We thought we'd try caving and rock climbing. Never got too far with that I think because I showed some small measure of skill and was less bothered by ledges and heights than he was. There's no satisfying some people.

I give you all the background because I am willing to admit my perception may be skewed by mostly negative experience.

So now Isaac plays baseball. He loves this game. I've learned to appreciate it. I can love watching his games where I only tolerate MLB games. Like any normal kid, he wants to win, but he's reasonably gracious in defeat. So he had a game this weekend. It was to finish a game started last weekend, a game started in the rain. It was not a gentle, warm drizzle. It was a cold, constant drip that left everyone drenched and chilled to the bone.

They played because the opposing coach is one of these diehard lunatics that would not forfeit or reschedule a game unless he were beaten nearly unconcious with a bat. This guy sends out obnoxious emails to every coach and official in the league after every game so he can whine about some perceived rules infraction all the while bending and breaking every rule he can. So Sunday they had to finish the game that was started last week in the rain even though every other coach in the league would have called the half a game a complete game and let people get on with life. Last week our guys were ahead and this other team is undefeated and has a coach out for blood. Neanderthal man couldn't deal with that. He is undefeated after all. He wound up winning today. I listened to this guy berate his players for mistakes and whine like a child about every little thing he thought our coaches were doing wrong. I swear I was a hair's breadth away from walking up to him and asking, 'Is your dick so small that the only way you can feel good about yourself is by sucking every bit of fun out of a game being played by 8-10 year olds? Shut up and let the kids play!'

Maybe I'm crazy, but for grade school kids playing organized sports I think it should be about learning fundamentals of the game, developing skills and sportsmanship, and having a ton of fun. I don't go in for the touchy feely, remove all elements of competition, but can we please not make it a pissing match? Is it just me?

29 comments:

M said...

I CAN SO RELATE!!

A co-worker invited me to her daughter's softball game a couple of weeks ago. It was also the 8 to 10 age group. The coach was this--and I don't mean offense--but he had the biggest beer belly. He did not look like an athlete, so I wondered why he had such an attitude! He was SO MEAN to these tiny sweet girls. Some of the girls were really good, most were not. That is part of being a kid! You try out different activities to find what interests you...duh.

Anyway. The coach of the other team was a young woman in her 20's. She gave her girls a treat after the game and asked them if they had questions. Then they did a group cheer. I know that many, many people would scoff at that technique of coaching, but I think it is more appropriate than yelling at the kids.

Fred said...

It's the adults that ruin it all. I attend many high school games, and I can't believe the things I see from both coaches and parents. They can be absolute idiots.

It can be done, if you have the right kind of coach.

Logophile said...

Dang it, I typed a novel and Blogger ate it!! Bastid!

We agree with you, Limey, both Mr. Logo and I. Since he was the coach, we were pretty content with how Thing Two's team handled it.

Cootera said...

Yeppers, I'm with you on this. It's imperative for kids to enjoy any extracurricular activities they're involved with... otherwise, why do it? But I also think that a healthy degree of competition is important, too. Nothing grinds my ax more than a bunch of wussheads claiming that competition is harmful to children. It's life. Get used to it. And bring dodgeball back while you're at it!

Incidentally, I waited out PE in college until I was too old to take it (I think our cut-off age was 25 or 30). I figure since I'm paying for my *education*, I'm NOT shelling out hundreds of bucks to take Relaxation Techniques or Bowling 101, though I'm sure I would have enjoyed them.

lecram sinun said...

Yeah, I'm the weird one in the family. Most of my male cousins were/are jocks who play multiple games... a couple have even represented the old home country in the Olympics.

I swam for a while when I was younger (loved it... still do) and my Dad was my personal coach for a bit. I was lucky that he was a lot more about the disipline and sportsmanship of sports than he was about killing the opponent. So, in the short time I had him... that's what I picked up... winning through execellence. :)

barefoot_mistress said...

Ok I was always the LAST kid picked for teams in PE....I was the smallest, the most uncoordinated, AND they didnt even make gym clothes in my size, my mom had to make me some....(size teeny weeny eeeny meeny)

So yeah, such locker room/PE damage I have..enough for all of you....

ANd I think competitive sports suck so.......thats what I think...

XXXX

Rob said...

Yeah, it's just you Limey! These kids must be taught that it's a cutthroat world out there and that the only way to survive -- and, dare I say, thrive -- is to compete, COMPETE, COMPETE! That other coach was on the right track in trying to get those little wussy boys prepared for life in the REAL world!

OK, OK, OK -- that's all bullshit! It was just becoming unanimous and I thought an opposing view was called for! ;-)

Of course you're right about the purpose for sports and phys. ed. for youngsters. At that age, the idea is for them to learn some fundamentals, get some exercise, see if they have the skills and/or interest in a particular sport that they might want to pursue more seriously, and to experience both winning and losing and learn how to handle each with equal grace. There is NO place (in my opinion) for those win-at-all-costs coaches and parents in sports organized for youthful (pre-teen) participants. In most communities, a tremendous amout of pressure can be brought to bear on leagues to remove/ban coaches who are abusive or who set bad examples for the kids they are "teaching" -- but you have to speak up to be heard. Sometimes these bad coaches continue in that capacity year after year simply because no one else is willing to take on the responsibility -- so it might be necessary for "good people" to step up to the task of filling these coaching positions so the vacuum won't be filled with the likes of "Neanderthal Man" whom you encountered the other day!

Now, kick your kid in the ass and make him get out there and PRACTICE for God's sake! (J/K!!!) ;-)

Rob said...

Oh, and GOOOOOOOOO T&T against those wily Brits on Thursday! Bet those guys had kick-ass coaches when they were growing up! ;-)

http://soccernet.espn.go.com/news/story?id=370815&cc=5901

Gary said...

I really, really, really wish you HAD said that to him. I am wondering what his response would have been. He sounds like a totally self centered person to me. Not the type who should be teaching kids. :)

James Goodman said...

Oh, I SOOO agree, at that age it should be fun. Acting like that runs the risk of burning them out before they even develop a love for the game.

snavy said...

It's not just you.

Some people should not be around kids - they can't teach or coach. They just cannot relate to children and should just stay away.

Other people should not be around other humans - they too cannot relate.

A couple years ago during a peewee hockey game - 2 coaches or a coach and a parent had an arguement about some stupid call or goal or I don't remember. Anyway, after the game they had a fight. Now, one of them is in jail and the other is dead.

Aaahhhhh sportsmanship!

Alistair! said...

I wouldsa shoved the bat up his arse sideways.

Rob: As an Englishman and a supporter of th ENGLAND team that will be playing against T&T on thursday. I find your remark offensive. :))

lime said...

one and all, thanks! glad to know it's not just me as a non-athlete who feels that way!

gary, i almost spit my drink at the monitor laughing at your comment, i thought you were such a mild-mannered fellow, hehehe

rob, way to stir the pot.

alistair, i may have paid money to see that maneuver. as for TNT....are there other teams in the world cup???

lime said...

bare, PE team picking. it almost always wound up at the end where it was me and the one mentally retarded kid left. many times he got picked before me. i feel your pain.

Rob said...

No offense intended, Alistair -- but I can only pull for one team and I'm always a sucker for the underdog! Besides, I'm still sorta mad at the Brits (and, frankly most of the rest of the world) for insisting on referring to the game that's being played at the World Cup competition as "Football" when we all know that FOOTBALL is played with an oblong ball by guys wearing helmets and pads -- not people in shorts and t-shirts kicking a round ball up and down the field! That game is SOCCER! ;-))

Oh, but I do appreciate pretty much everything else about the UK if that's any consolation!! :-)

Walker said...

I have played sports for many years and some of the best coaches I have had were supportive and informative and tried to better you as a playing and instill the benefits of winning and being a graceful loser.
Lets face it you never win them all and I don't care who you are.
I have had the raving lunatic for a coach and he ws loved as much as tghe turd you step on accidently on the front lawn.
Sports are supposed to be fun as well as competative.
Now what I really find desturbing are some of the parents of kids who cause fights in the stands because their child the appearant heir to the Michael Jordan or Wayne Gretzky fame think that the kid deserves to be treated better.
Maybe you could learn to play pool.
That's a sport of precission, you can wear what you like and the ball is standing still for you to hit.
Have a nice day

keda said...

lime babe. i agree. i found team sports horrible at school, but was only offered hockey, rounders or netball so its hardly suprising! i'm now very sporty. i plan to make sure the lets get a lot more choice. but if it was down to me.. which its not obviously you know which way i'd be going!

by the by, rob deary, you guys play american football. historically for some reason you couldn't really get yr feet around it so you decided to use your hands instead and have breathers every few minutes to get yr breath back. good on you all i say, but just because you abandoned the oldest game you shouldn't insist we change it really. you enjoy your american football, well do the football. badly its true, but we're sticking with it nonetheless.

soccer is a game played when little kids get cross and sock each other in the trap.

Sis B said...

oh, lime, if you decide to do this PLEASE have someone video it... or take pictures.... or something... i think you should do it!!!

Blither said...

Oh Lime, It isn't just you. My son actually lost all heart in his favorite sport this last season because of an asshole coach. Pfft! His coach called and ask me what was wrong with my son's baseball spirit - I told him "You".
Some adults just don't get it- For the
Fun People- FUN! :)

Your warm up to your son's coach cracked me up... haha I too am like you.

Alistair! said...

ok so "football" or "footie" was being called "football" long before you damned yankies decided to hi-jack the name for some kind of nancyfied rugby game. Just lie what you did with the wonderful gane of cricket, some abberation called "based-ball".

Seriously though Association Football was around for a while as has been Rugby Football ( which, funnily enough, is also played with an oval shaped ball).

But you lot cannot match the beautiful game.

(tongue firmly in cheek)

lime said...

such a firestorm of controversy!! ok, here's my take since it's my blog...

american football: unnaturally large men in pads and spandex beating each other over an improperly shaped ball during a 60 minute game that takes 2 hours

rugby: large men beating each other over an improperly shaped ball. game only stops for decapitations.

football (soccer): the name makes sense since you can't use hands. i like the finesse and speed.

cricket: inbelievably loooooooooong game with fun terminology like googlies, maidens, and chinamen

baseball: professionally in USA it's been destroyed by spoiled brat rich players pumped up on steroids and greedy owners. no average american family can afford to actuallly take their kids to a MLB game of america's national pasttime

oh and did i mention......GO TNT!!!

Jodes said...

i am athletic - but your right PE sucks a$$.

Rob said...

Good summary, Limey! You're like the favorite mom on the block who separates the kids when their arguing gets in the way of whatever fun they were having before -- the offers everyone Kool-Aid and cookies!

So, where's the Kool-Aid and cookies??! ;-)

barefoot_mistress said...

What Lime? The mentally challenged kid got picked BEFORE you? Oh man, could it be?

Ok the most fun I ever had for being a slug in PE was the time I got put on the um...."special ed" (read: bad kids) basketball team which had two 6' tall 8th grade girls, and they used to put me on their shoulders and we had this little Globeltrotters thing going on...anyway....

Bridget Jones said...

I relate to this too, Lime. Wonder if there isn't a certain type of personality (competitive/overly endowded with adrelenine or testosterone type thing) that are attracted to sports? Was married to one of those.

Notice the past tense.

Did not have the intense, extended experience that you did, being very stubborn. Had three siblings that loved to fight, and I don't. But boy do I get what you are talking about.

Have only one word-- WHY????

The sisters (went to Catholic schools for a lot of my life) kept making me a forward in basketball for years because I'm tall! To this day I don't know most of the rules except the ones about travelling. Idiotic.

Give me a book anyday.

Bridg the wuss

Tan Lucy Pez said...

Oh boy, I feel your pain! My son and one of my daughters played Little League. Some of the coaches should be banned for life from opening their mouths around kids.

steve said...

That last paragraph is RIGHT on!

60 and counting said...

A broken nose playing Basketball. A cracked sternam and four busted ribs playing Football(Not Soccer). Bitten by a dog on a Cross Country Run. Concussion when I hit the wall doing backstroke Swimming.
Then I discovered Beer Lifting. I've never looked back. The greatest sport ever..

:)

Moosekahl said...

You need to see Benchwarmers! Puts a nice spin on this whole topic.

Yesterday Oprah tackled the "I'm living through my kids" athletic parents. I said two weeks ago with a high school whose parents were over the top about what he should and shouldn't be doing in rehab. The poor kid looked miserable...I looked him right in the eye and very clearly in front of his parents told him a sport isn't a sport unless you are having fun. His mom got really quiet....uhhhmmm????