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KIDS, SPORTS (permalink) 06.08.2012
it's possible i wouldn't do well in the majors.
i coached bella's softball team this year. i've helped coach many of the kids' teams but have never been the head coach. and yes, being the main guy is different, different in all of those stereotypical ways. in the end it was a fabulous experience, largely due to the group of girls who signed up. i know this is the universe being kind to me.

i believe i was a rather unorthodox coach. at the first practice we sat in a circle and played a name game i've used in teaching for more than twenty years (i'm horribly name challenged). i then explained to the girls that what was important to me was not how many games we won or lost but how much improvement each girl saw, individually, in themselves. so yes, i wanted them to be competitive but not with the other teams, with themselves. and that i didn't want our esteem to come from how we did against the other teams that signed up but instead from how much effort and focus we applied as individuals and as a group.

this was tested partway into the season after we won our first game and the girls were jumping up and down chanting, "we won! we won! we won!". after shaking hands with the other team, i called the girls over to the side away from everyone, had them sit down and told them, "ladies. we signed up to play a game called softball, not a game called win. every week we've come out here, win or lose, we've gotten to play softball. because we get to do every week what we signed up to do, you should show the excitement you showed today after every game, win or lose." during my talk the girls stared at me blankly. after my talk they all resumed their celebration, albeit more quietly when i was in earshot.

we had our final game of the season last weekend. the girls spirit was light and playful. after the game (a game we lost in the bottom of the final inning) they came and said they made up a cheer and asked if they could sing it. i said of course. so they huddled up and in unison cheered:

U-City Unicorns number one.
We just wanna have some fun.
We don't care if we-e win,
We just want to wear a grin.

as i stood and took this in, one word played through my head, "wow".

then we went for year-end ice cream.

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