Wednesday, April 29, 2009

drama in the dugout

After the game ended last night the manager's mom, DH, and I ended up outside the door to the dugout. One of the kids' friends, ZA, was also with us as he was catching a ride home with DH. The manager, HH, hyper-extended her knee this past weekend while competing (cheerleading) at "Worlds" in Orlando, FL. The high school athletic trainer provided HH with crutches and DH wasn't sure if the trainer had instructed on proper use, so I told her I would. As we're standing there a couple of players wondered in and out of the dugout. One in particular, JB, ended up standing there with us, but not for long. It was within minutes that the coach had fervently instructed (yelled angrily) the boys to get back inside. We could here him yelling something to the effect that the boys should know better than to be standing around outside while their teammates are working to clean up the field (normal duties post-game).

Did I mention they lost 13-0?

We took that as our cue to depart and off we went. Being that the players have to tidy up the fields and then head into the locker room for further "coaching" and then to change, us parents are left waiting. For many of us this just becomes a continuation of social hour. So I went and got inside CB's car to hang out for the time being. She would be JB's mom. I, of course, took it upon myself to inform her of JB's encounter with the coach.

It doesn't help that it seems as if JB is not one of the coach's fave players. JB has seen little playing time over the past several games, although he did pitch a couple of innings in two separate, consecutive games. Oh, and he's been first base coach several innings. He hasn't really played though. He'd had a couple of rough games playing second base and making some errors, so he's basically been benched since.

This is all upsetting to a mother who has to witness and deal with a kid who's becoming jaded and bitter. What's a mom to do? This isn't Little League anymore, when you could go to the coach and ask "why" they do what they do. This is high school ball, when at the beginning of the season you attend the parents and players meeting for all of the season's sports. You're told that you have big kids. kids becoming mature individuals, now and if they have problems they should man-up and go to the coach themself. Ok, I'll agree--sometimes it isn't so easy and mamma bear instinct has you wanting to defend your precious cub.

If this isn't all bad enough, we soon learn there's more to the story. A while later up walks JB and the coach. Coach asks CB to get out of the car to talk to him. Well he doesn't so much ask as he actually signals with his finger looking straight at her within the confines of her automobile. She gets out. I take leave of the car as well, so as not to sit there and appear to be gawking. I go and talk to JB who informs me that Coach had grabbed him by the jersey and slammed him up against the wall.

Ahem. Oh boy.

Apparently Coach is letting CB know that he had grabbed JB. JB verbalizes to me that he wants a couple of the guys to tell his side of the story to his mom, fearing she wouldn't believe him. I agreed to stick around in case LB had witnessed the encounter. Another one of the players had come out by then and confirmed what JB had said was true. Within minutes LB has come out and also confirmed JB's story. So we waited for Coach and CB to finish their conversation.

We then go up to CB, whom I've asked if she was ok. At first she was, because at first it was a matter of her kid "should have known better". Then the boys told her their side of the story. After a few minutes of speculation, disbelief, and shock we depart the parking lot for our homes.

It wasn't too long after we'd gotten home, since we had stopped off at the DQ drive-thru so LB could get his nutritious (ha) after-game meal, that my phone rang and it was CB. By then she was extremely upset. She had spoken with her husband, who happens to be out-of-town and consequently has become angered, and her brother-in-law, who happens to be an opposing team's coach. He's advised her to notify our school's activity director (the person in charge of athletics) of what our coach had done. In case there's any confusion, you just don't put your hands on a kid, no matter what.

Did I mention Coach is a former police officer?

Now, that's all good and well. Of course it should be reported, but wait...we have to worry about the big "R" that being repercussions. It's not quite as simple as reporting a misdeed and then everything will be hunkydorey.

Have I mentioned the overly political nature of our school's, not to mention, county's athletic programs?

You report something like this and you could very well be messing with your kids future, at least in high school sports. Black-listed is where your kid will end up. To some this may seem incredulous that anyone would care about this when we're talking about an issue that is actually punishable by law.

Nothing's quite so black and white, not even police cars, anymore. We also have a coach who did disclose to a parent that he did put his hands on said parents kid. He could have not said anything and left it to a he said/he said scenario. No, he manned up and admitted his wrong-doing.

I told CB, after speaking with DH, to find out if she'd witnessed anymore than I had-and she hadn't, that this is something she and her husband has to decide what's best. That and to inform JB of what his uncle has advised and to put the ball in his-that being JB's-court. No pun intended. If we're expected to let our cubs make mature decisions than so be it. Of course she already had told JB and he told her not to go to the AD, that Coach was just really mad and he happened to be the one who caught hell for it. Well he didn't use those words exactly, I'm sure, but nonetheless, you get the picture.

I really can't tell her what to do. I've never been in her position. I told her to try and get some rest, that things may be clearer after a night's sleep--even if it's not the most restful.

I asked LB, and ended up calling Big B, about their thoughts. LB said the same thing his teammate did, not to go to the AD about it. Big B gave credit to Coach for admitting what he'd done and that he might let it rest with that, but it's a tough call to make. Indeed, it is.

If that's not all enough to sour a day, we had one of those family shootings right here in our own county! Now we're not talking DC or Baltimore. We're talking Podunkville. Alas, a man shot his wife and then shot himself, but spared their two children. Those poor cubs.

There's always something to make a situation you find enormous, insignificant.


Anonymous said...

I would not care one ounce about being black listed by reporting this coach. Think of how humiliating this was to the poor kid who was slammed up against the wall in front of his peers?? I would talk to the AD and then have a big pow wow with everyone in the same room. What else does this guy do when he loses his temper and no one is around? High school sports are not that important to take that kind of abuse from anyone. If we did that to our kids here at home and the law found out what would happen to us?

Tootz said...

Wow...what a situation. I really understand what you mean about the politics involved. Our school district is the exact same way as are most of the surrounding ones. As a matter of fact, not many of our kids make the teams unless they have the same last names of the various school board members and various teachers and administrators (who by the way received their jobs from the aunts, uncles, dads, moms, cousins, and/or best friends who make up the school board). This is a tough situation. It is a shame that we feel bullied into not standing up for ourselves because we fear retaliation of some sort. And I thought most schools these days ban bullying! Poor little cub! While I give kudos to the coach for manning up, I fear what else could be in store for someone in the future. I wouldn't know what to do. You are protecting your child from one sort of bullying only to be faced with another type. Life is just not fair. And I agree with Lorie. But I also understand the decision made by the parents. I myself would not know what to do.

Robyn said...

Oh Dear God, while you are trying to finish school? Yikes. Hang in there...what are there, 5 days now? Focus, focus, focus...

Anonymous said...

I am dying to know what happened?? This poor boy has been on my mind.