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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Sucks to be human sometimes

I've been wrestling with something for a week or two. And I hate that I'm bothered by it. But I am. I can look around and see plenty of other things to be upset about in the world, but no, I'm irritated by a 10-year-old's soccer team.

Charlie has been playing for the same soccer club since he was four. This is the third year he's played on the club (read: travel) team. There are actually two teams. They all practice together, but are split for games.

This year they have a new coach. What's new? So this coach came in, watched two practices and assigned the boys to teams -- the blue squad and the white squad. When the rosters came out, I was a little disappointed that Charlie wasn't on the blue squad with several of the boys he's played with in seasons past. But he seemed happy because some of his buddies are on the white team with him. And on paper, the teams looked pretty evenly split.

If things had been left at that -- here are the teams, blue and white, play ball! -- I would have been fine. But no. The coach had to go and say that the teams were actually A (blue) and B (white) teams.

This is where my mama bear came out. Wait a minute. MY kid is on the B team? Are you kidding me? How dare you say that MY son is not good enough for the A team! He is without a doubt better than some of those kids on the A team. And at least as good as some others.

I've tried to be rational with myself. Charlie does tend to drift around the field out of position (but not as bad as some kids). We didn't take advantage of any of the additional training offered last year (It's only 10-year-old soccer, for crying out loud. Aren't two practices a week enough?). Maybe he got put on the white team because we haven't paid the league fee in full yet?

I've tried to reason with myself. It's only 10-year-old soccer. Keep it in perspective. The training is the same. They all practice together, so they're getting the same instruction. Or are they? It's a closed practice, so parents don't get to watch. How can I be sure that all the attention isn't going to the A kids?

Being on the B team gives Charlie a chance to be a field leader, I've told myself. He's a starter, instead of the first sub in. He is not the only talented, hard-working kid on the white squad. There are several other boys who fit that description. Then as I watched the games last weekend and saw kids who obviously haven't played soccer long, who whiffed the most beautifully gift wrapped pass my kid could have put in front of them, I started worrying about the team playing to the least common denominator.

The coach said he may move the kids between the teams. Ok, when? I'm impatient for Charlie to have another chance to prove himself. Maybe we should look at other soccer clubs? But, I tell myself, we've stayed with this club so Charlie can play with his friends. At the end of the day, it's about fun, not wins and losses, not college scholarships.

When Charlie said something about wishing he was on the blue team, I didn't editorialize about the unfairness of the team placements. I simply told him to go to the coach and ask what he needed to do to earn a spot on the blue team. I've kept my comments to myself, not letting Charlie know how I feel. But let me tell you, Mike has gotten an earful.

Do you see the craziness in my head about this? I am the Sybil of the soccer field. I think my mama bear needs some Prozac.

I hate that I am feeling this way -- jealous and defensive. But I also know that I am a mom. It's my job to look out for my kids and to want the best for them. So maybe my reaction to this soccer situation is merely human? In that case, it sucks to be human sometimes.


Anonymous said...

This is exactly why we are not playing comp soccer anymore.

Eternal Lizdom said...

I hear you! We aren't in anything competitive but I've certainly felt the pull and desire to know that Teagan is getting her fair share and treatment in all situations.

I think your advice to him was good. And I like that you aren't butting into it and getting all mixed up with the coach on it. Yes, the team might be playing to the lowest common denominator. But I'd also encourage Charlie to find ways to be a leader and not just by skill level. He can encourage others and guide others. Make it a real leadership experience.

Joanie said...

I like how you told Charley to go to the coach and talk to him.

Most important is you didn't get all soccer mom and go after the coach! I have neighbors like that.... the coaches all cringe when they see her coming.

Momza said...

I confess, I am no better than you. Fair is for cows and hog-callers.
Nothing in life is fair. We live and deal with what we get most days, unfortunately.

Joanne said...

Oh Amy I feel your pain and have been there myself with our son. When D was 10 he broke his arm playing baseball - he wanted to finish the season for the team and was playing with pins and plates in his arm at the end of the season. The next year was when they split to AA and AAA. My son was bypassed by his coach for the AAA and he was devestated.
Like you we did the big fish little pond lecture and he went on to be the star of the AA - he refused to go up to AAA when asked and loved every minute of his baseball until he was too old to play.

Love how you held back and let Charley talk to the coach - these are huge lessons for us and them.

Mike Magan said...

AMy is right I have gotten an earfull and I'm not as passionate as she is. I think the teams are pretty evenly matched in reality and keep in mind one of the team's the b-team lost to 3-2, also beat the A team 1-0. They had one more sub and never scored on the same team the next day.

Give it time and let it unfold!

Nancy said...

I think that you handled it very well. I will tell you that it doesn't get better. My youngest son was passed over on travel baseball teams more than once because we as parents weren't coaching or being team parents (those jobs were filled by parents assuring the spots for their kids). I know that sounds bitter, but the last years of competitive baseball were ugly for our family--lots of politics involved.

Good luck!

Old Woman said...

Amy -- funny I should read this post. I've been involved in club soccer for 10 years now. I have two boys one 18 and one 11. Of course my older son has outgrown the whole club soccer thing and off to college, but my younger is still there. In all these years, I've been a volunteer Registrar for our club. So I'm very involved. In all this time I have NEVER asked for any special treatment of my youngest child. He is very ADHD and it takes him a little longer to get certain skills. Right now I am battling within myself the same situation you are describing here and it SUCKS. Club Soccer is very different than Y or Rec Ball. Its very competetive. There are coaches that look at all kids as having potential and then there are coaches who will stack teams with this whole philoshy of the better kids will go father and the "well not so" goods will develope together. I SAY they are TEN -- not world cup players. Train them the same, keep the teams even and see where it goes. I pay the same amount of $$ as those the Doctor's kids do. Honestly, I'm ready to bail; just take my toys and find another sandbox. Club soccer is expensive and there IS another club around the corner waiting to take our money. Find the fit that's best for your kid.

Anonymous said...

Oh my! I know how you feel! I just had a coach tell me I thought it was "all obout my son" when I questioned his choice concerning my son playing QB. I said " is not all about my son! However, I am his mother and it is my job to stick up for him when he is getting shafted!" It is obvious my son is a good QB-the problem is the coaching!!! My goodness, his replacement fumbled the snap at the goal line and lost the game! It is absolutely human to protect your son!