Friday, April 1, 2011

A Really Bad Game....

I am a coach, for those of you that have not picked up on that throughout reading my blog. The head coach of high school varsity girls softball. This is my side job, and I take great pride in being a role model in these young women's lives. We had two games last night, back to back, first league games. The scores....13-2 and 11-1, all finished in five innings due to the mercy rule (10 ahead at five innings), we are the low numbers = loss.

I am not sure how, or where the seams got tore off, or if in one catastrophic moment my girls forgot how to play softball. I don't know. They look to me for guidance, encouragement, strength and balance. I am their biggest fan at all times, even in these not so great moments. Of course I was angry, embarrassed, frustrated, and at a loss.Who wouldn't be? When you feel you have given each player the tools to be successful, witnessed their successes, bragged about them to peers, and, in competition it falls apart... that is heartache.

Game over, we took to the field and practiced. You see it would have been easy, just to leave, cry over it at dinner, and accept defeat. Why accept it? Why let it win? I can't get the game back, I can't reverse the loss, but I can take that negative and turn it into something positive. We lapsed, lost our mental stability so in some way it is my job to show each and every player they are capable after giving the game away to errors - eight dropped balls. And waiting until tomorrow loses the feelings they are experiencing. And we're off.

"Mine! Mine! I got it!" as she is running in to make the catch.

And she is calling it, leaps and dives to give everything she has to this ball, she misses it, but her back up is there. I shout, "Great effort, keep it up! That's exactly what we want to see!"

Ball is a tweener, in the 5-6-7 hole, everybody's on their horse, and you hear loud as day, "MINE!" can't miss that sound, the other two stop and the caller of the ball takes control - she wanted it, grabs it, and makes the play at two.

And it carried on. We started to be successful.....confident.....strong.....again. I took this really bad game and created a teaching moment for them to walk away that night, yes, with a loss, but also with knowing they can dive for balls, call it, communicate, keep it.    
Yes, right, there is always that one parent that has a problem with staying late, is determined I have no respect for others, and feels that telling on me is what needs to be done. I am OK with that, she doesn't get it. If I didn't respect, didn't care, didn't want the best outcome for these players we would have gone home, shoot, that would have been easy. By staying I taught them fight, drive, determination and most of all...we will never quit, I don't quit, it doesn't even exist my vocabulary. And now at this juncture in my life I understand "not quitting "at a completely different level - a higher level. I hope I am teaching this attitude of strength and desire and when these players leave, and are faced with adversity, they will know what it means to push through and never quit.

I have control....breathe....slow it down.....focus.....want it.......I will never quit.....I will triumph!

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