life on the funny farm

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

This Wrong Will Be Righted.

Eyes on the ball.
Side step left.
Feel the burn from the scraped knee.
Feel the sweat running down.
Run to the right.
Yell out instructions.
Flex fingers inside the padded gloves.
Crouch low.
Dive and catch the ball, getting run over in the process.

Save the game!

Such is the life of a soccer goalie.

My daughter is a soccer goalie. Has been since partway through her first season on the travel team she joined when she was nine years old. A few games into that fall season, it was discovered she had quite the talent for it.

She was a natural.

And she loved it. Goal tending was her life and she couldn't get enough. She was at every practice and every game. Being the only keeper for the team meant she got a lot of game time. No subs.

At her first tournament she was honored to be named the team's MVP.

A few seasons later she was asked for by name to guest play for a different club at a tournament. They recognized her talent and wanted her to lend them a hand. Being the good sport that she is, she played for this team and didn't hold back, diving, leaping, catching, punting, swatting game after game till she was exhausted.

I kind of felt like a celebrity's Mom at that game, when other parents would come up to me and ask, "Are you the goalie's Mom? What's HER deal? She's amazing!"
I'm sure I was blushing.

Why am I telling you all this? Just to brag on my daughter? Partly, I'll admit it.

But mostly to illustrate how mixed up some adults can be.

See, my daughter was just cut from her team. Cut after playing for them for 10 seasons.
Did her skill level drop? Was there a flood of girls at tryouts for this team that Rosie simply couldn't compete with?
No. Sadly, she was cut because she has the misfortune of being the daughter of a Mom who would speak out against the board and the coaches when they were in the wrong about 6 months or so back.

Was she the only one cut?
No again. There were four other girls that got cut. All children of parents who dared to speak up against a wrong. All children, whom I have been told by another parent, were among the best players on the team.

Surely this team must make cuts all the time. Isnt' that just part of being on a travel soccer team?
Once again, no. In the history of our team, they've never cut any players but once. That year, about a year ago, there were record numbers of girls trying out for our team. Two of our most junior girls were cut, and two very strong players were added.

This year's tryouts? The only girls I saw were the ones already on our team, plus a couple more who had guest-played with us.

And yet, in the form letter e-mail we received as notification of the cut, it was stated she was cut b/c there were many more girls trying out than were spots available. Then it was suggested she might be able to find a nice rec-level team to join if she still wished to play soccer.

I was stunned.
I was hurt.
I was outraged.

My daughter is actually taking this way better than I am.

I have asked questions of the board president. Questions he has refused to answer.

I have pored through the by-laws of the organization, but have found nothing to support the president's claim that the information I have asked for cannot be released publicly.

I have asked questions of the coach, and the coaching director, only to be referred right back to the president.

I don't know if I've ever encountered another human that has acted so despicably. To use 12 and 13 year old girls as pawns in his ridiculous game of vengeance leaves me feeling sick to my stomach.

Oh there are worse things in the world, to be sure. But for him to hold himself up as a pillar of the community, someone who is doing good deeds "for the children" when in fact he is using those very children to spite their parents is just wrong on so many levels. He has manipulated and lied and hurt children when he is supposed to be supporting them. Lifting them up to the world of sports, passing on a love and learning of the game and building their confidence.

Instead he has left them feeling like they have done something wrong. Like they weren't good enough.

Girls, let me tell you right now. You ARE good enough. You're "among the best". You have done nothing wrong. You have played the game honorably and handled this situation with a grace far beyond your years.

And let me also tell you. I am not going to handle myself with the same degree of grace. I am in Mama Bear mode.

And I am going to


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