27 April 2010

Authority Figure

Last Sunday afternoon I took #1 to softball practice, although she has had several practices, this was the first I was able to attend. We arrived at the field a few minutes early, so I put on my glove and started to pass with her. In a few minutes another girl from the team arrived and (without asking) started passing with us too, then another, then another, then another. Before I knew it I was passing ball with 6 girls. They wanted pop ups and grounders, and I was happy to oblige. But then they started throwing pop ups and grounders to me. I informed them that I am not working on my game, my baseball/softball game peaked about 10 years ago. After a few minutes of this tom foolery another girl arrived, then approached me and wanted to know what time practice would end. I wasn't even sure I had #1 a the right field more or less what time practiced began. Luckily right at that moment the coach arrived.

Skip ahead a few days to last night, the first baseball practice for #2 - I volunteered to be his coach. At the appropriate time I called all the boys in to start practice. Before practice began there were boys throwing as hard as they could, there were boys wearing their gloves on their heads, there were boys running around, and one boy attempting to knock out the other boys with his bat. It was an interesting evening. As they assembled around me I asked who had played ball before, I expected half to raise their hands, only two had. Uh-oh. These boys are lucky that this is an instructional league and that I am laid back dude. (For a side note, as I left practice I saw another team practicing - there were all kinds of dads drilling the kids with proper arm placement and motion, they had their own bases, measuring rope, a designated hitting area, and boys all wearing caps, correctly!)

I mention these two stories because it is amazing how human beings accept authority figures. How many times have you seen some yahoo in charge of an event and wonder why is everyone listening to this clown? Then you realize you are one of the clowns listening to the clown. I am amazed more folk do not protest or offer a better alternative. In the two instances above the kids simply assumed I knew what I was talking about, that I was some sort of expert, that I even knew what time practice ended. As much as I want my kids and other kids to be free and independent thinkers when it comes to coaching - let's keep that free-thinking stuff to ourselves. Or my football coach used to say when you made a mistake (naturally you would respond I thought... but before you could start) don't think Norvell, do!

1 comment:

hawk said...

When you speak of yahoos, I worry about coaches and why parents will let their kids be subjected to ridicule, verbal harassment, and, sometimes, abuse by coaches. A friend's daughter was on a winning soccer team that had a coach that was a regular jackass. When I suggested that the coach was out of bounds, my friend responded, "Yeah, but he gets results."