No, seriously. The guy who writes about youth sports coaching and holds coaching clinics; the guy who espouses to advise coaches and league directors on the best practices to interact with parents, officials, and the children to have successful seasons…got thrown out of an 11-and-under youth baseball game. I am most assuredly not proud of this or my behavior that led to it. The circumstances of my ejection and the rationalization in my mind as to whether it was justified, are not the point. The bottom line is…
I WAS EJECTED FROM A YOUTH RECREATIONAL SPORTS GAME.
Again, I regret that it happened and have been doing a good deal of soul-searching as to what it means to the players I coached and my role as a trainer of coaches. Here’s why being ejected is unacceptable and I am sorry for the bad example I set for the kids I coached.
- Was it fun to see their coach told to leave the field?
- What did they learn? What did my actions teach them?
- Will the players want to play again next season?
Recall, I define a successful youth recreational sports season as one where the athletes have fun and learn to play the game. The ultimate measure of success, to me, is whether the child wants to play again the next season. I can’t imagine it was fun for the players to see me yell at the opposing coach. I’m sure it wasn’t fun for them to see the umpire tell me I was ejected. In fact, it was probably unsettling. I hope my actions do teach the children a lesson, though. I hope they learn that losing control of one’s emotions can have consequences. Finally, only time will tell whether or not the players decide to play baseball again next season. I hope they do.
This incident has me thinking about the recommendations I make to coaches in my writing and clinics. Often, academics and teachers can get removed from the material they teach – leaning on their experience that can be less relevant as time passes. Coaching my niece’s team not only reignited my desire to write about youth sports coaching but also highlighted how much I enjoy coaching. It has also been a good experience to coach this past season as it afforded me the opportunity to get back in the game. Easy for me to say in a clinic that coaches should respect the officials and other adults and should not argue or yell. As is typical, real-life is more nuanced than what is taught in a class.