Saturday, May 23, 2009
Life isn't fair...
I am a firm believer that if you are a good person and you do good things and you follow the rules that everything will be ok.
I like rules.
I like organization.
I like procedure.
And I like good things and good people.
So when the outcome of my compaint against the coach backfired, it was pretty hard for me to handle. Hard in a way I hadn't felt in a long time. Hard in an unfair way.
But I'm getting ahead of myself.
I emailed my complaint into the person who handles complaints for softball and he immediately responded that he had received it and would review it with the grievance commitee and get back with me.
Thursday night, I got the following email:
We had our meeting last night and we didn’t finish till about 11:30. The committee agreed that [Coach] is to call a team meeting and apologize to the players and parents. He is to give 3 days notice of the meeting and notify myself or [the VP of softball] so either one of us can attend the team meeting....If you have any other questions please let me know.
I called and spoke to Camille's mom about this and she asked me what I was going to do. I told her I had every intention of accepting his apology and moving on. I don't want him removed, I just want him to change the way he is treating the girls.
The thing is, I had considered talking to him about this directly but we have these systems in place for a reason. If I feel like he's out of line, the board needs to know if for no other reason than that it's recorded. This way, if it continues to happen, everyone will know it wasn't the first time and appropriate actions can take place.
I was following the rules.
I called the two assistant coaches to let them know I had filed the complaint and that it had been my recommendation that they take over the team should he be removed. I made it very clear to them that I wasn't trying to hand out pitchforks or recruit people, I just wanted them to be aware of the situation.
The assistant coach who had actually seen everything let me know that he more or less agreed with me and had confronted the coach before. The other coach was very short with me, making it clear that she wasn't on my side.
The next morning the coach called and left a voicemail telling me that there would be a team meeting that evening at 6:00pm and that parents and players needed to be there. This was on my birthday and Amanda was on a field trip until 7:00pm but I still took Emilee.
It was immediately clear that the coach had called and recruited the parents I was not friends with. No one spoke to me, stood near me or sat on the same row of the bleachers as me. All I could think about was how I didn't want Emilee there.
Isn't it funny how you don't care what is about to happen to you, but man oh man, you don't want your kids there.
I knew the shit was about to hit the fan and I just wanted Emilee to magically be back at home. And do you know what she did Internet? She reached over and grabbed my hand. When I looked at her, I expected her to look scared. She wasn't. She was holding my hand because she thought I looked scared.
I really have these amazing kids.
The coach began by covering the schedule for our games, a few had been switched around and he wanted to make sure we were all aware of it.
Then he jumped into his "apology"... He started by telling us that he had had every intention of apologizing for his behavior before the game we had coming up that Saturday, but due to the circumstances (he looked right at me when he said that), he was being made to apologize sooner.
Great, this is going to suck.
He went on to say that was fine since he wanted the air cleared before Saturday's game anyway. He then went on and on about how he was more or less sorry that "some of you" felt he was being too rough on the girls and that his temper had gotten a bit out of control and that he would work on it but really that is just how he is.
He opened the floor up to the parents and the one who he is very good friends with immediately jumped in about how he didn't think the coach had done anything wrong at all and that he felt this whole complaint was BS. He talked for about five minutes and he looked directly at me the whole time.
Emilee squeezed my hand.
Let me jump in here for a second and tell ya'll that there were only two adults anywhere near the dugout when this all went down. Me and the assistant coach I mentioned earlier. None of these other people heard anything.
After he was done, the assistant coach who was on the field jumped in and said that she thought the complaint was bogus as well, that she felt he had handled the situation just fine.
Then her husband asked the coach if he felt he had treated the girls any differently than they would be treated in highschool or college.
Camille's mom jumped in there and said, quite clearly, "we aren't playing highschool or college softball." to which the coach responded that she was right and that, yes, the girls probably would be treated the same once they were older but he was going to work on not treating them that way right now.
At this point, the coach's wife jumped in and gave a lengthy speech about how she couldn't believe anyone would slander her family's charachter and how five years ago when they were planning to move out here, they would drive by these softball fields and they had a dream that one day they could be involved. That he husband's dream was to coach here and he was living his dream now and she can't believe that anyone would accuse him of being inappropriate or abusive. And that he would never hurt the girls.
At this point, the assistant coach who was there jumped in. He put his hand on the coach's wife's shoulder and said, "I don't think anyone is trying to slander your family's charachter, we just..." She cut him off by violently jerking away from him and glared at me and said, "Well you didn't read the complaint."
I said nothing.
It ran through my mind that I could have stood up at that point and given my own speech. That I could have brought copies of the complaint with me to pass out to everyone to read. That I could email it out later when I got home.
Many things ran through my mind, but the fact was that I wasn't about to make a scene in front of the kids and that any attempt to defend myself at that point would have just escalated all of this into a huge arguement where no one would win.
Our coach reached down and grabbed her shoulder and told her "enough" because he knew damn well that she wasn't even at the game and that we weren't supposed to be talking about the complaint any way.
That was the thing, no one should have even known there was a complaint or that the coach was being forced to apologize (even if he said he was going to anyway), it should have been on the down low. Those parents should have thought this was a routine meeting and nothing more.
The coach looked back over at the assistant coach who his wife had just cut off and asked him to continue. He looked scared.
He stuttered his way through the next few minutes with the most inarticulate defense you've ever heard, bless his heart. He told the coach that he didn't think anyone was slandering him but that we just didn't agree with his technique, we felt he was being too hard and rough on the girls.
The coach said, "well I had hoped to end this on a good note" and went on to apologize to the girls by telling them that he felt he was bringing out their best but if they felt he was being too hard on them, he was sorry and he would try to not be so hard on them anymore.
He then looked over at the VP of Softball who was monitoring the meeting and told him that we were done unless he had anything to add.
He said that he didn't but then went on to talk about how he is military and a coach and that he often yells at his boys but maybe it is different coaching boys than girls.
Great, way to have his back Authority Figure Who Wasn't Even There.
The coach "adjourned" our meeting.
Camille's mom got up and immediately left. I could tell she was mad.
Another mom who I am friends with asked me about something school related and then I left. Camille's mom was in the parking lot and told me to call her when I could talk.
I could barely think I was so mad.
I drove to the meeting spot where Amanda would be dropped off on her way home from her field trip and gave Em a dollar to go get an icecream and called her.
She said, "Kate, that was nothing more than a witch hunt."
She was mad. She went on about how the complaint shouldn't even have been mentioned, even known about and that our coach, as a board member (she is also a board member) knows that and how she intended to talk to him and the board about it.
I told her what I had decided on the drive there, that I was pulling the girls off the team. The kids at that meeting snubbed Em and were clearly pissed at me since their parents were pissed at me and going to mean to my kids on account of it.
I can deal with all the parents hating me, I'm a big girl, but they aren't going to be mean to my kids because of it.
She said she didn't blame me.
I told both of the girls that night.
Amanda is all her fight until the end glory said she still wanted to play because she was going to show them and they weren't going to win this. I love that fight in her. Emilee still wanted to play because, like me, she doesn't stay mad and forgives easily and quickly and she wants to play with her friends.
I pulled The Mom Card and told them we were done.
I called the coach to tell him, he let me go to voicemail.
The next day I spoke to the player agent for softball and let him know. He asked me why I had decided to pull the girls and I told him about how the coach had handled everything in a way that I didn't agree with and in a way that I think is shocking since he is a board member and that this man was not going to be a role model to my daughters. He doesn't believe he's done anything wrong. I told him that I had intended to accept his apology that evening and move on but that he had recruited parents and turned this into a big ugly thing. I will not have my girls hate softball because of him. We will play next season with a different coach.
He told me that he agreed with me but that he couldn't control what our coach had done and that there wasn't really a good system in place for handling these things. He asked if there was any way I would reconsider, I told him my girls wouldn't play under that coach this season or ever again - period.
This guy really believes that tearing these girls down is ok. Sometimes I gotta stand between people like him and my kids. This is one of those times.

God I was so mad.
It was so unfair that my girls had to stop playing softball because of this. That we "lost" this fight because he cheated and didn't play by the rules, the rules I believe in. I followed procedure and did what I was suppsosed to do and he should have too and he didn't and he still gets to play.
I had a little mini break down on Saturday when Fairy came over.
I was just so mad.

The coach called me Monday to ask me to reconsider. I felt like I was going to boil over during that conversation but I never even raised my voice. I told him that I had had every intention of accepting his apology that day. However, since he'd chosen to talk shit about me to all the parents who were now mad at me and whose kids were now mad at my kids, he'd left me no choice but to withdraw the girls.
I made it clear that I wasn't going to let the way he had treated my kids this season or the way that the kids would now treat my kids ruin the way my girls felt about softball.
We love softball and I want them to want to keep playing and if they do choose to stop it won't be because their coach is making them cry or because their teammates are snubbing them because of their mom.
I told him exactly how I felt about how he had handled things and I called him out for lying about cussing in the dugout. I told him that my girls have very few male role models and it WAS NOT OK for him to be one and treat them that way and I take that VERY seriously.
I think after having heard everything I had to say, he understood. And, dare I say, actually felt bad.
I've since heard from a couple of parents whose kids have concurred what I said and who wanted to hear the whole story. I encouraged them to listen to their kids because last season, I blew off a lot of what my kids told me. I didn't take it seriously and this season, as I was more involved, I realized they were right.

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so eloquently put by katehopeeden at 3:47 AM
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