As a young player, I was so lucky to have coaches that taught me the game and who gave me the opportunities to be the best that I could be. It wasn’t until I was older that I started to reflect on who they were – school teachers, volunteers, parents – people who wanted to give the girls every chance that the boys had to excel in sports.
For the past 15 years, I have been teaching girls the fundamentals of softball, giving them the framework to be the best they can be and never letting them give up. Just recently, I have crossed over into that grey area – the zone where I am the volunteer coach AND mom. As parents, we have expectations for our children. As coaches, we have different expectations sometimes – that’s where the lines can get blurred, but I don’t think I would have it any other way. It is so important for my daughter, and her teammates, to see me, as a mom and female athlete, giving of my time and energy to help them get better. Am I sometimes harder on my daughter than others? Absolutely – but she knows that when the game is over and we are in the car on the way home, I’m just mom…with a few extra pointers on her drop ball!
My time in the dugout as a coach has given me a lot of perspective – I am so thankful for all of those coaches who gave of their time and energy when I was younger. I wish I could go back now and thank each one of them personally because I have such an appreciation for what they did. As parents, we need to set the example for our kids – treat coaches with respect and be thankful for these women and men who volunteer to coach youth sports. And to all the moms out there – don’t be afraid to step in the dugout or onto the court or field – no matter the sport, our daughters need to see us in different roles and it’s good for them to call us “coach.”
But what makes my heart full is when we’ve hauled the gear back to the car after a long day at a tournament, covered in dust and sunscreen, and I hear “thanks for coaching us mom” that the lines aren’t blurred anymore. They are exactly where they are supposed to be.
Work Hard, Play Hard and Have Fun! Christie A.