Saturday, June 18, 2005

Am I Just in my Disgust?

I wonder if all parents struggle with the balance of being an advocate for their children and also letting them learn their own lessons of rolling with the punches, so to speak.

When it comes to sticking up for my kids, I would say I am pretty laid back. First of all, I don't think that we put them in a great many situations where there is need to "stick up for them" in the first place. But the stuff I am referring to include 1) jockeying for specific teachers at school; 2) talking to a director or program leader in advance to ask for a choice role in a production; 3) talking to the sports coach about a specific position...that sort of stuff.

I'll make it very clear that I will defend my children vociferously whenever necessary, but this looks at what those conditions are that raise the ire of parents.

I'd like to think that we encourage our kids to pick their battles and understand that sometimes we don't get what we want...sometimes we do...and we find our happiness in our attitude about things instead of trying to manipulate everything.

All that being said, I am about to depart from that line of thinking.

We were at my daughter's softball game this morning (keep in mind, these are girls who are 8 an under, so this is not championship stuff), and my daughter and a couple of others sat out the first inning that our team was on field. Fine, no biggie -- there are more girls on the team than positions, so no sweat. Second inning comes along, and the coach asked who had sat out the last time, and then placed those girls in the game. Good! They're all going to rotate out. Third inning came along, and lo and behold I look over, and the same three girls who sat out the first inning are out again...(if you can do the math, the girls play 10 on the field, so there was ample opportunity for another set of three to rotate out.) And then the fourth inning came, and the second set of girls who sat out were on the bench again.

I really, really fought being angry about this, but it just sent me over the edge that it was sooooo calculated. Let me back up and tell you that there are some REALLY strong players on the team (needless to say they never sat out)...but the girls who did sit out are good, little consistent players. My daughter gets a good solid hit more than 80-85% of the time she gets to bat. She has become a good little outfielder, consistently stopping the ball and getting it back to the infield for the play. Is she the BEST player? Nope, not by a long shot. Does she have a good attitude? I'd venture to say she has one of the BEST attitudes. Juxtapose that with some of the better players who are rude and moody and throw tantrums and deride the other girls when they make errors.

There are other parents who have left the team...those who take the coach to task at the end of the game for their constantly correcting the girls on the field...those whose eyes roll back in their head when lousy plays go by without comment from the coaches because the player making the error is one of the 'stars' and they get by with a "that's okay...good effort", and the very next play someone could do the same thing and the response is "you have GOT to catch that ball and get it to 1st base!"... I am not one of those parents. (See earlier post about my general nature is to cheer on everyone and give lots of applauds and clapping for 'good efforts" or "you'll do better next time")

Anyway, I didn't make a huge deal out of it. I mentioned it to one of the coaches (there are like 8 on the team...don't ask), and he agreed. We had an offside conversation about the whole phenomenon, but that doesn't go with this topic. I got in the car to leave...commented to my daughter that she did great with that good solid hit, and that while she was out at first herself, she was still able to hit in a team mate for a run. And I complimented her on her awesome stop behind second base and being able to stop the running from taking second base.

We don't talk about these things in front of the kids because we want them to enjoy the game. We don't want them to have to consider the politics of parents...and then of course I sit and wonder if I am playing the same game of politics when I sit there and get upset about what appears to be unfair...or unsportsmanship like favoritism.

So, my husband and I talked about it on the way home of whether we are not zealous enough for equality for our kids? Or is our approach to take note and not bring it to the attention of our kids the better way to go. I just wonder when they get older if they will look back and think we were even-keeled balanced people or why we didn't 'go to bat' for them more often when we had the chance.


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