Recently Mac and I signed Kate and Avery up to play flag football this Spring season. It is our first experience with field sports, and I thought - hey, they get to run around a lot, it's non-competative (right, because it's just FLAG football, not tackle) - perfect! Well, I was right about the first part - they get to run around a lot. The girls get to be very active, and I can see how good it is for them. They are just beaming all the time now. They love being a part of flag football, and they exhibit a real sense of pride and self-confidence being part of a team. It's easy to think that your boys need to be active, but I've realized it's just as important to have your girls be active, and just as beneficial for them as it is for boys. So I am really happy that we decided to do this. However, I was wrong about the competative part. I was totally overwhelmed when we went to the first day of practice with all the teams gathered together for skills and drills. There were several coaches whose techniques were aggressive and in-your-face with the kids. There were also tales from parents and some coaches about other coaches who were in it to win all the time, and wouldn't let the girls play offense at all. Now that got me really concerned, so I've been watching carefully at practice to see how the coaches deal with my girls and to see what they say about their approach. So far, Avery's coaches are golden. I couldn't ask for better guys. They give everyone a chance to play equally in all positions. They are strict but kind, and they seem really welcoming and glad to have Avery on the team. They have expressed repeatedly that their main purpose is for the kids to have fun. I'm afraid Kate is not so lucky in her coach. So far, he seems really focused on winning, and it looks as if Kate might get stuck on defense with a minimal role in the game. Mac tells me to wait and observe some more before I go jumping to conclusions, but I have a hunch that this coach's style is going to rub me the wrong way, and I'm already planning out what to say to him if my hunch is right. Something like, "When is Kate going to play offense? When will you give her more direction than just "watch the ball"? How can she improve if she isn't given a chance to play in that position?
I get mad just thinking about it, but Mac is right. I'm making assumptions now that I don't know to be true . . . yet. I'll be watching closely, and I won't be afraid to voice my displeasure if my kid doesn't get fair treatment. That's right. I'm one of those moms now. And that coach better step up his coaching or watch out!