Monday, November 23, 2009

I wish I had the guts to say in high school/college... (Part 1 of who knows how many)

I'd been on losing teams before, extremely hapless teams that sucked at doing anything resembling soccer. But, though every game was frustrating, and though we never liked losing, we still liked each other. And, equally important to me as a competitive person, we still practiced before games like we meant it. Even though we knew were probably going to lose, we put the effort in to practice, knowing that if we did manage to get better, we could actually win.

So that was the work ethic I came in with when I joined the Buckley soccer team my freshman year. Suffice it to say, as the years went by, that the losses never got less frustrating - but that wouldn't have mattered if I actually felt like my teammates had any respect: for the game, for our coach (not that he really commanded respect), or for the teammates that actually cared. I couldn't have predicted at the time how bitter I still am today about those years on the team, and even though I just mentioned how I felt my teammates were lacking, the truth is that all of that could have been fixed if my coach had any idea how to motivate and coach teenage girls.

Coach, you rewarded disrespect and poor behavior. You allowed practices to become wastes of everyone's time by not enforcing quality drills. You fostered the sense of entitlement that grew exponentially every year on that team, that allowed my teammates to somehow think we deserved to win games without putting in any effort for it. You under-utilized my talent and dedication, considering that during any given year I was one of fewer than five girls who actually played soccer outside of Buckley. You allowed the girls who took practice seriously to be ridiculed for caring too much. You cultivated egos of girls who possessed neither the talent nor the leadership ability to inspire any of us to understand why you had rewarded them with team awards and captain positions. By the time I was a captain my senior year, I hardly felt like it was an honor because of what the role had already become before I even had a chance to step into it. You made what was supposed to be a fun extracurricular, intended to take my mind off of classwork and social stresses, into a chore that only spawned new social stresses.

I continued to play because I love(d) soccer, but now I realize that what we were playing was a bastardization of soccer and barely worth my time.

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