How Sports Coaches Have Fallen Short

To The Reader’s Forum:

It’s that time of year again. The sporting world is getting into full swing. Schools are gearing up, marketing campaigns are vying for your attention on the next big game, and I’m counting the days until my youngest child can walk away from her high school sports career.

Why would I wish away these most precious last few months before college? We see a lot of wonderful stories on social media depicting the underdog rising above. The movies portraying the iconic sports hero. Reality looks a lot more like coaches with little to no life experience telling you what your child’s priorities should be. Telling you what your child can and cannot eat. It looks like coaches with personal agendas that keep seniors who have invested six years of time, sweat, and tears on the bench of their last home opener to play younger less experienced students. It looks like unfairness, favoritism, and questionable ethics.

Coaches have a very real opportunity to teach skills, hard work, ethical behavior on and off the court, how to lose gracefully, how to achieve more, and how to win with compassion. Unfortunately, in my experience coaches have fallen short, very short of these goals. Parents and students leave the gym feeling discouraged and defeated in every way.

If I could do it all over, I wouldn’t have any of my children in sports at all. The team camaraderie, the joy of sportsmanship, and the lessons of a job well done were never accomplished. I would focus more on family reunion softball games, neighborhood kickball, and impromptu volleyball at the beach. At Least they would leave feeling tired but happy.

Above all, remember this coaches; your priority list is wrong. Family is first, school is second, work is third, and maybe on a good day sports are fourth.

Dawn Swanson