My Darling Husband is coaching Pickles’ soccer team this year for the first time. Husband has played soccer since he was a shortie himself, and it has been a HUGE part of his life. It is his best and favorite and he loves to play. Husband also has very strong feelings about coaching kids after 30+ (and counting) years as a player and has told me about these feelings repeatedly once or twice over the 8 or so years our shorties have played soccer. He believes that if the kids are having fun, they will love the game and want to play (and I mean in the back yard, on the sidewalk, at recess, in the dining room) and they will naturally get better and learn the intricacies of soccer as they get older. When you are 9, it should only be about fun and playing. For the kids. You know, fun!!
So he has been playing forever, blah blah blah but this is the first year that coaching seemed like a good idea. I suspect the thought of all the administrative stuff involved made him want to run screaming from the building hesitate to commit. He actually volunteered to HELP coach, but you know how that goes: Hey, here’s another ‘helper’. Sucker, you just got yourself a soccer team!
The soccer team has been rolling along for over a month now. Husband is doing a fantastic job (I may be biased) and he and Pickles together are having a ball. Until. yesterday. Husband was a little flustered getting to the game and wasn’t as early as he would have liked. Also, his assistant Coach (who also happens to be our fabulous neighbor) was home recovering from xray vision surgery. That left Husband on his own. Or so he thought. There was another parent there, a parent who upon first meeting was friendly, funny and kind and who took it upon himself to help out. Let’s call him Jackhole The Screamer.
Some people coach by standing on the sideline and watching the game play out then talking to the players on the sideline when they come out of the game, letting the kids enjoy the natural progression of the game without worrying about the details. Others shriek directions and minutia from the sideline THE ENTIRE GAME. Guess which kind The Screamer is. You already know which kind Husband is. So, we are left with a fundamental difference of Coaching styles. This would be a topic for intellectual discussion and debate if The Screamer were indeed a coach. In fact, he is not. He is a parent and he needs to get his loud self to the parent area of the soccer field. At the quarter break, Husband checked with the opposing team’s coach (we were on the other league’s fields) and indeed, the parents damn sight better are respectfully requested to sit on the opposite side of the field from the coaches and players. Husband announced this to the gathered crown and away they went. Happily, I might add. The Screamer, however, stayed. And screamed.
Husband is a quiet guy until and unless he gets to know you. His humor is deadpan and he rarely yells. When I got to the game (late, of course) I was more than a little startled when I saw the particular shade of purple his face had turned. I heard the screaming and knew immediately why, and all I could say to him was deep breaths, dear. Deep breaths. He went back to the sideline, tried to watch the game, turned purple and paced some more. It went something like this:
Husband (Under his breath to me): Was I not clear when I said for the parents to go over there?
Me: Yes, you were very clear. Take a deep breath.
Husband (through his teeth): What. is. his. problem?
Me: He’s a moron. Deeeep breath. Deeeeeep breath.
Husband mutters as he walks back to the sideline, Screamer continues screaming, Husband turns purple and comes back.
Me: Everything is fine. You’ll send out an email tomorrow.
Husband: Yeah. An email. I’ll send an email. I may have to punch him in the face.
Me (Wondering how his parents would feel about watching their son get hauled off to the pokey from the kid’s soccer game): How about let’s not do that. Look! Your parents are sitting with Sweet Pea and Pumpkin Pie. Isn’t that nice? In with the good air, out with the bad air.
At half-time, Husband tells The Screamer that this league does not want a lot of yelling on the field. The Screamer responded that if you don’t tell them what to do they won’t learn to play. Oh, dear God in Heaven, Husband turned even purpler.
I honestly don’t know how we got through the entire game, but we did. The kids had their snacks and everyone left. There was certainly alcohol involved when we got home. Luckily my in-laws rock as parents and we all laughed about it extensively. After Husband regained regular breathing and his face was no longer purple, that is.