A few days ago I got back from a football tournament the kids played. The kids won two games and lost two games in the group, but their superior goal difference got them into second place and a Minor Semi Final game.
The Minor Semi game ended in a loss and the tournament was over. All good from my end, as the opposition proved to be a lot better individually and in any sport, when you have individuals losing the 1v1 battle, the problem compounds a lot all over the pitch.
And the lesson I got out of it as a coach, is to inspire the kids to work on their technical game outside of training, sort of like how guitarists practice on their own to get better and to also bring in a session that also aids their technical game. Because it’s these hard skills that need to be nurtured.
But the reason why I am posting this is because of one parent from 24 parents. There is always one parent who will cause trouble and the media that hate soccer/football will generalize it and say parents. Even coaches will apply the same viewpoint to all parents because of one parent.
Let’s call this parent “Snake”.
After the semi-final loss, “Snake” said that he asked his son, “what are the other kids thinking about the game”, and his son said that if the Goal Keeper plays with the Club again, he will leave.
The Goal Keeper’s parents (let’s call them “The Good People”) have BBQ’s and get-together’s with “Snake” and his family, however “Snake” is slithering and conniving to oust their son.
What a brilliant friend to have?
My first thought was to call “The Good People” over and ask “Snake” to repeat to them what he said to me, however “Snake” has this code name for a reason. He is very good at coming across authentic and sincere and when it comes time to be truthful, he will just slither away from it, making it a conversation about how the “Snake” didn’t say that versus mine, “yes you did say that”.
So that didn’t transpire, as a confrontation was the last thing I was looking for.
From my own point of view, I find it hard to deal with toxicity like this, and fake people.
And it got me thinking of “The Enemy” from Godsmack and the lyrics, “you’re another shit talking punk to me, you’re living inspiration for what I never wanna be.”
Communities thrive because of a communal spirit, with people helping each other and today, it feels like its everyone for themselves. In this instance, here is a man close to 50, conniving to kick out a 14 year old child in secret.
In other words, if I don’t select the child next year, I am the bad guy, and the “Snake” comes away unstained.
But the attitude of the children are so different.
The goal keeper is thankful for his opportunity, tries 150% and is respectful. Every time he turns up to training, he shakes my hand, and when it’s over, he shakes my hand again. The child of the “Snake” does none of that. And I am pretty sure, that the goal keeper didn’t want to make the mistakes that led to easy goals. No player/competitor walks out on the field with that viewpoint.
And with each loss, with each failing, there are lessons to be learnt. The “Snakes” child was missing in the game as well, however it looks like the lesson they got out of it, was to blame someone else, when the real lesson is that their child needs to improve, like all the rest of the children, and they need to do these improvements on their own, away from the 4.5 hours of training they do with me each week.
But its easier to blame, because what happened to one person, will never happen to the other person, not in quite the same way. And by relying on the story people tell themselves, the real truth is ignored.