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Saturday, April 12, 2014

What Did I Just Sign Up For?!?!


     As I'm sitting here watching my nephew's soccer game and now my niece's soccer game it brings me back to when my daughter Brooklynn was in Kindergarten, about 9 years ago.  
Brooklynn came home from school one day with some paperwork about joining a soccer league. She was so excited and begged me to let her join. I read through the paperwork and decided it was a great opportunity for her to make friends and learn some valuable life skills by being a part of a team. I went to the meeting to sign her up with all of the forms filled out and my checkbook in hand only to be informed they didn't have a coach for her age group. 
     I was disappointed and heartbroken for Brooklynn then someone asked me if I would consider coaching the team. I thought to myself, what do I know about coaching or soccer for that matter. But before my mind could catch up with those thoughts I said yes. All of a sudden I was the head coach of a five to six year old soccer team. Thankfully I was going to have an assistant coach so I wouldn't be in this all alone...the only catch was that they hadn't found one yet.
     The reality of it all didn't really sink in until I was driving the 25 miles back to our town. (Keep in mind we were living in rural Iowa at the time.) I turned off Highway 3 onto Main Street and made my way to our house where I parked the car in the driveway and just stared down at the passenger seat where all of the coaching books sat. After fighting back tears for at least 20 minutes, I gathered up the rule books, team roster, and coaches’ books and slowly got out of my car and wandered into the house. Still not knowing what I had gotten myself into and confused about how it happened. 
     Where was I supposed to find time to coach a soccer team? I was a full-time college student, I worked part-time, and I was a mother to a five year old and three year old...I didn't even have time for myself. The pity party didn't last long because the stubborn Capricorn in me took over and I was determined to be the best coach this league had ever seen.
     I sat down at my computer and researched the rules and regulations for soccer. I learned what each position was called and what their job was. I read the books the league had given me the day I signed up then I took out my team roster to see how many kids were on my team and how many were boys and how many were girls. Found that Tuesday and Thursday late afternoons were the best times for me to hold practice. Then I looked up tips, ideas, and techniques on how to teach five and six year olds to play soccer.
Finally I sent out a letter to the parents introducing myself because I was new to the community, announcing practice times and location, a snack and beverage schedule for practices, along with uniform requirements. 
     We had four practices before our first game so I taught my team different drills to build up their skills and had two practice games half of my team against the other half. Things were going better than I ever thought. I'm going to brag by saying that I was an awesome coach...in only four practices a bunch of kids who knew nothing about soccer were running up and down the field like a well oiled machine for a bunch of give and six year olds!
     Then came our first game and everyone was excited and ready to win. We got out on the field and I was running up and down the field coaching my team when all of a sudden Brooklynn was lying in the middle of the field kicking, screaming, and crying! I rushed over to her to see what was wrong and while sobbing she said, "You're not paying attention to me just the other kids!" The tantrum got worse; I literally had to drag her off the field so they could continue the game. 
     I was horrified, embarrassed, and didn't know what to do. I still didn't have the assistant coach I was promised so it was only me out there. We won that game miraculously despite the fact that I had to carry Brooklynn up and down the field to coach the rest of my kids. 
     That was the end of my coaching career and I was never talked into coaching or doing anything of the sort ever again!

©2014 Lysa Wilds