With all due apologies to Nancy Reagan, I'd like to advise all lacrosse parents this spring to, "Just Say Yes."
At some point during the season, someone is going to ask for your help. They might ask you to run the clock. They might ask you to help line a field. They might ask you to work in the concession stand. They might ask you to move a goal.
And I encourage you to Just Say Yes, not only because it's the right thing to do, but because someone else has already said yes.
For the past couple of years I've had the luxury of watching my two children play sports without having to coach. This winter I was pressed back into duty coaching my son's basketball team. It was a reminder about the stress and pressure that coaches go through.
I knew a few of the players on my team before practices began and I thought we had the makings of a pretty good team. And then we lost our first two games before the holiday break. And then we lost our first game after the New Year.
We were 0-3, and I was miserable. This was only a rec-level team and none of my parents were complaining, but I still felt like everyone was judging me. I have a number of friends that make their living as coaches at colleges in various sports and I often tell them I don't know how they do it. I lose a rec basketball game and it affects my mood for at least a couple of days. How do they handle the stress of wins and losses when their jobs depend on it?
So, when I encourage you to say yes, it's because someone else said yes to coaching your son or daughter. They may not be the best coach in the world, and they might not even be a good coach, but they said yes when someone asked them to coach. They're dealing with a lot right now:
- Am I getting everyone a fair amount of playing time?
- Can I leave work early enough today to get to practice on time?
- When can I check the weather to see if I need to cancel today's practice?
- Did everyone get the time change for Saturday's game?
- What can I do to make our team better?
For me, it was a pretty constant 24/7 thing all winter. Thoughts about coaching were always at least in the back of my mind, if not the front.
So while I stressed, one of the things that made this winter easier was that I had a great set of parents. I had an assistant coach that was always there and a big help. I had two dads in particular that ran the clock or kept the book for the majority of our games, and I can't tell you what a relief that was. Two years ago when I coached, I was begging parents two minutes before tipoff to come out of the stands and help out.
With that, I encourage you to Just Say Yes, or even better, volunteer to help out when and where you can. Coaching is a big time commitment, and an even bigger emotional commitment. Remember that when you're enjoying watching your child play, and do what you can to help relieve some of the burden that your child's coach is facing.
And in case you were wondering, yes, our team did turn its season around. We finished the year 15-6 and at one point went over a month without losing a game. Even better, we did it the right way. I made every effort to make sure that every one of our players played at least half of the game, considerably above the league's minimum playing rules, and they all hustled and played the game the way it's supposed to be played.
So my memories of this year will be happy, but only because I had the support of a great group of parents. Do you part this year to help out your child’s coach.
Just Say Yes.
Brian Logue is the director of communications at US Lacrosse.
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