Val Pleasant: Thanks, coaches
September 24, 2011
To the editor:
It was nice to read coach Matt Ray's comment in the Sept. 17 Saturday Morning Press in the report on the Craig Middle School football game, acknowledging the benefits of the Doak Walker program in getting players ready for the next level.
He said the players have "a lot of football knowledge and they play real hard."
In the same edition was the "play by play" insert, which included an ad for "youth coaches needed."
After some recent observations during Doak Walker games, I felt this a good time to publicly thank all of the coaches and youth volunteers in Craig. I hope all parents who benefit from these people take the time personally to do that as well, and realize these are not paid positions, and that many people take time away from their jobs, family obligations and personal lives to keep these programs going.
And they do it for the kids, not to play into parents' varied ideas on how and when to practice, winning and losing concepts, or overall coaching styles.
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It's my opinion that if I sign my kid up for something and someone is going to take the time to help them, I'm going to let them do it their way and my kids need to learn and respect that, too.
As parents on the sideline, we need to set that respectful tone toward coaches, opposing coaches, and referees. These people do the best they can, encourage the kids to do the best they can, and sometimes the outcome is not always ideal for everyone.
We can all learn from mistakes. As parents, we hate to see our kids sad, hurt or disappointed, but honestly, I think they generally get over it better than we do. I've never heard a kid say, "They should have let me win." It's just not in their nature.
Hard work and successes should be celebrated, and defeats can foster learning and motivation. In the heat of the moment, we can all say and do things we may regret, but we've got to realize the impact our perceptions have on the kids.
We've got coaches out there who won't coach, and some who may not return, because of the way they're treated by parents. It's sad.
Coach Ray's team won, 46-8. I was sitting with friends from Meeker. I did not hear any of their fans screaming at our CMS coaches to have our kids stop trying. Nor did I hear any of our fans yelling at our kids to sit on the ball.
CMS worked for and earned every touchdown. Maybe that work ethic started three years ago in Doak Walker.
So, thanks again, coaches, for teaching our kids to do their best.