Saturday, 28 June 2014

What You Need To Rember About Soccer Coaches

    Soccer season is just minutes away from being over for another year.  I rejoice at this.  My kids love soccer season, and the big kids love having their Dad for their coach.  Christopher loves being a coach. I believe that Gabe was 5 or 6 when Christopher began his coaching career (putting that at 15 years-ish)
He gets a big charge out of it when he sees kids that he's coached over the years and he gets a big "Hi Coach".  He has made an impression on many children's lives.
    Over the years he has coached some hum dinger kids and had to deal with many a pain in the butt crazy parent.  He has had belligerent parents screaming in his face,m spittle flying that he wasn't playing their kid enough.  He has had fathers (it's pretty much fathers) screaming at their own children, putting way too much pressure on them.  One boy he coached just crumbled and began to sob when he let a ball thought the goal, because he knew that his father would loose it on him.  Too often parents forget that this is house league and it's supposed to be fun.  For the last few years Christopher has had one win.  That's it, one win in about three seasons.  He's o.k. with that because his team is having fun.  None of the kids has ever complained to him about their lack of a win.  He jokes that if this was a paying gig he would have been fired.

    Here is what we as parents need to remember, these people, these coaches are volunteering their time.  That means that they work their regular job, do their regular chores around the house and then put time into planning practices, worrying about your child, then going out and actually coaching.  Yes at the beginning of the year you paid money for your child to play.  That money goes toward insurance for the association, it pays for the refs, oh heck I don't know everything it pays, but I do know what it does not pay.  It does not pay the coaches.  These people (and it's generally the exact same people every single year) are giving you their time, free of charge.  They are stealing from their private lives so that they can share themselves with your child(ren).

    At the end of the school season most of us purchase a small gift for our children's teacher.  We want to show them our thanks for the year that they have given to our child(ren).  It's something that we do freely, knowing that these individuals are paid, this is their job.  We know that this is their profession, but we also know that they spend their non-teaching time thinking about their students, wanting the best for them.  Very few of us bat an eye about purchasing a gift.  How many of us do the same for the individuals who have donated their time time to our children?  Somehow we feel that paying for the sport is all we need to do.  We forget that we also are out of pocket for paying for teachers it's just it's under the big title of "taxes", and we don't think about it.  Please don't get me wrong I am NOT anti-teacher.  I love teachers, they do something that I could never do.  My point is that most of us forget that our children's coaches are not paid.
    Here is what I have to admit, over the years this is something that I have been guilty of myself.  I have never taken the hardcore stance that "I paid money, and I'm not spending a penny more!"  I have more just forgotten that these individuals are not being paid to help my child.  This year I remedied that situation, Elly and I made a gesture of gratitude.
    Christopher does not have the patience to coach the little ones.  He loves coaching, and has promised Elly that he will coach her, just not quite yet.  Elly had a lovely coach, and an adorable assistant coach. They made a difference.  They were out there encouraging this group of little rug rats.  This is the first introduction that most of them have had to the game of soccer.  These are 3, 4 and 5 year olds.  They are sitting in the grass picking flowers, they are running off the field mid game, in other words they are being 3, 4 and 5 year olds.  Through it all there were her coaches laughing and praising these little tikes.
    My go to gift for coaches, well heck everyone is a Tim Horton's gift card.  You just can't go wrong with a gift card.  Even if you don't like coffee, there's something you will like.  The problem is that both of her coaches work at Tim Hortons.  They are probably so tired of Tim Hortons that a gift card there for them would be an insult.  Elly and I got creative, we made them shirts!

    Elly loves doing crafts, oh heck who am I kidding, I LOVE doing crafts!  Selfishly sometimes our homemade gifts have more to do with how much fun we have making them, than the gratitude they are meant to express.  I purchased bright t-shirts and Michael's.  I went with bright shirts because both of these ladies are bright and shiny in their personalities.  We used a stencil for some.  I loved the look of concentration on Elly's face.

    We delivered our gifts to her coaches.  Elly was so proud to give them something that she herself had made for them.   By giving thanks to her coaches we are accomplishing a bunch of things at once.
First we are acknowledging that we know that these ladies have donated their time to help my child.  Although the gift itself has low monetary value, it has huge value in gratitude.
Second we are teaching our children by example.  I want to raise thoughtful, grateful children.  I do not want them for one second to think that the world owes them anything.  When someone does you a kindness you owe it to them and to yourself to acknowledge that kindness whether through words or words and action.
Third I want them to experience the joy of giving, of gratitude.  I want them to realize that when we give thanks to someone it not only feels nice to be acknowledged, but it feels wonderful to give.

    Thank you coaches.  Thank you for your time, for your commitment to our children.  Without you our children would loose the opportunity to play sports, to be a part of a team, to have fun.  To those of you who feel unappreciated I want to let you know that you are.  Perhaps not everyone is going to thank you, but I guarantee that they are grateful.  I also guarantee that they speak of you around their house.  You are making a difference in the lives of children.  Thank you.

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