BITCH – ARCHIVE

Still pulling from my old blog, and this is easily one of my favourites. I loved coaching ball; the kids, the sport and especially my colleague in coaching. Good times! šŸ˜€

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

BITCH

I’m a bitch, I’m a lover
I’m a child, I’m a mother
I’m a sinner, I’m a saint
I do not feel ashamed
I’m your hell, I’m your dream
I’m nothing in between
You know you wouldn’t want it any other way.

~Meredith Brooks “Bitch”

I remember the first time I was put in the same context as the word “Bitch”.

I was 13 years old and my mother was in the middle of a nasty exchange with her sister. A bitter and eventually vengeful person, this woman had some beef and laid out her anger in a letter, including the reference that my mother’s eldest daughter was “a bitch”.

This wounded my mother terribly. I can only imagine how she felt inside as I know how I would react if someone made a derogatory comment about one of my children, never mind my sister.

At the time, I was shocked. I remember thinking I knew what incident she was referring to, but didn’t think that action would qualify me as “a bitch.” It took me a while to process the idea that there were people out there – in this case, a family member, who had a very dark impression of me.

Kinda heavy for 13…. That kinda crap messes a person up for a while.

I can remember referring to this branding throughout my teen years. Kind of an excuse for anything I felt contrary to – because after all, I was “a bitch”.

Over time the brand became a badge of honor. I had a backbone I’m not sure I would have discovered as young and my ability to stand my ground comes from the fact that while you have a right to your opinion, I sure as Hell have a right to mine. Don’t confuse my ability to concede or defer with weakness. I simply don’t care as much about the issue as you do. Because if it matters to me, I will go down for the count. And there are very few people whose opinions truly matter to me any more.

As soon as I realized this, the better I felt about myself. A type of empowerment, if you will. Why worry about other people’s opinions when there are very few whose opinions truly matter?

Which brings me to last week. I’m assistant coaching First Born Son’s ball team AGAIN – long story there I won’t bore you with – and it came time to hold the first practice.

Faced with 13 12-13-year-old boys, I realized there needed to be a strong impression made. The hormones are working. Some of them are as tall as I am and a couple of them easily out-weigh me. This is where you have to go for the weak spot – the brain!

“When I’m talking, no one else is talking,” I started, which beautifully shut two of them up. “When Coach J is talking, no one else is talking. That’s just common courtesy. When I’m here, I’m not FBS’ mother. I’m Coach Sarah to him, just like I am to you. He’s not my kid when we’re here. There are no favorites. You will work hard. Don’t get me wrong, I like to have fun and I’m not a prude – I’m not hung up on swearing or being frustrated when you are practicing. When we are in a game you WILL represent your town to the best of your ability, which means NO swearing, NO trashing the other team AND DEFINITELY NO tearing down your team mates. When I tell you to run, YOU WILL RUN. Softball is a running sport. When I tell you that you will be running an extra lap you, will do it, because gentlemen, I bring my own vehicle for a reason – and that’s to stay here until the lights come on if that’s what it takes. I will wait you out – that’s right, I am a BITCH.

At that point, one kid fell off the picnic table…. All of their mouths dropped open – except for FBS – he knows about my bitchiness.

Three practices later, if someone speaks while I’m speaking, I merely stop talking and look at them. They immediately stop and usually they blush. When I’m running a drill and they are not executing the way they should – I stop – spell it out for them and they immediately adjust their actions. They speak to me with respect, or genuine friendship, since they realize that 90% of the time, I’m very easy to get along with and truly want for them to improve. I despise shouting.

While I would not suggest telling young girls they are bitches as a means to create character, I would have to say what started out as somewhat of a damaging experience has since become something that I would not change even if I could.

I’m a bitch, I’m a tease
I’m a goddess on my knees
When you hurt, when you suffer
I’m your angel under cover
I’ve been numb, I’m revived
Can’t say I’m not alive
You know you wouldn’t want it any other way.

Catching Up

I think it is an unspoken law of blogging that one takes off the summer months, if not cut back the number of entries. In my case, I tried to pack as many things into each day as humanly possible.

It’s hard to believe that with the return of back to school and fall routines, that it was only two months ago that we were admiring First Born Son’s gardening abilities.

 

While the lettuce was impressive, his corn and sunflowers are MASSIVE. He entered the sunflowers in the local Fall Fair and won third. The tallest stalk was 10’4 ft so I cannot imagine how tall the winning entry was!!! I’m waiting to get sick of eating corn, since its on the table every night. Hasn’t happened yet!

 

It was a nice hot summer for swimming at Mom & Dad’s pond. I’m not sure who enjoyed it more, the kids, or Roman!! On a related note: this was one of the few activities Second Born Son could actually take part in – so he spent a lot of time in the water. His are is healing well and we go back down to the specialist in October for an update. This could be an ongoing pattern for a while. Ā 

 

 

While you saw M&M’s photos, her sister, Lil’ O also played softball and we loved watching her year-end tournament. “The power is strong in that one, master!!” So nice to see the kids enjoying ball. Now if we could do something about the nut-job adults who organize their teams….SIGH.

FBS had a great season playing ball. It was great to see a team of players who wanted to play ball, and not simply signed up because of their parents. Unfortunately, there wasn’t a lot of structure to the team, and they didn’t perform well overall. “There’s always next year!”

 

SBS was my little fish this year. Since swimming was considered good therapy for his arm, and we normally do swimming lessons through to the end of elementary school, he enrolled at the local pool. PARENTING TIP: Try to get your child into swimming during the summer Olympics. I wish I had video of SBS splashing at himself and getting psyched like the big boy swimmers. HeeLARrious!!!!

 

What summer is complete without a wedding? It was a beautiful July day when this lovely couple made it legal. The painful part, to me anyway, is that I USED TO BABYSIT THE BRIDE! That’s right. That gorgeous creature you see there – I used to feed her snacks and keep her and her deliciously chubby little brother entertained. He’s not longer chubby and she’s beautiful. I’m taking all the credit.

 

Then there was the cottage. Easily the highlight of the summer. Due to the time restraints dictated by work, Lil Sis and I decided to split a week. She took the girls and our parents up from Monday to Wednesday. We all enjoyed Wednesday together, then she took her crew home, and my family stayed on until Friday. HEAVEN! Even when the weather was poor, it was nice to just be together and not have to do anything. This beach has special meaning for me and The Big Guy, since it is where he proposed. I love the fact that the cottage was on the beach, so we didn’t have to load anything up to enjoy the water!!!

 

 

 

I love how this summer turned out; with birthdays and sunshine and being outside. I just need two more months!!!

 

 

 

It’s Just a Game!?

You know the one thing wrong with kids sports?

The adults.

I spent the past two days watching my niece play ball. M&M is a natural-born softball player. One might think as her aunt, I’m biased, but when team mates comment on her being a pivotal part of the team winning, and she wins MVP honours, after a while, you get to think, “Yup, she’s as good as I think she is!”

So, I’m gonna brag a little. M&M is the best parts of good sportsman and good work ethic. Her coaches use her in multiple capacities.

A ball about to be spanked.

 

She hits.

 

She runs.

She likes to have fun, but she knows when its time to get back down to business.

 

She’s not a girlie-girl. She likes to get down the job done. Sometimes that means getting dirty…

 

 

 

Her coaches decided they wanted to pitch,

and then doing some catching,

then an inning or two at shortstop.

She runs like a deer.

In short, she loves the game and loves to play. So when her team won a berth in the season finals today, (an ill-timed loss meant they had to go around the long way with extra games and extra wins), we had high hopes. It became evident early in the final that this game might not be won on the field. The coach of the other team began using delay tactics and calling our team up on technicalities. Ironically, none of the issues were valid and the game continued, with the time lost on the clock. Other teams had warned us he might try this trick.

One might also note that the base umpire is the next door neighbour of said coach, and there were at least three plays at first base, right in front of our parents, that was obviously erroneous.

The girls put forth an admirable effort, but they came up short. Some might say the better team won; I would suggest that then you hold up a ball game in 35 degree weather, it’s not about the better team, it’s about the more creative coach.

Be proud Hooligans. With only two losses in the season, you should be proud with your year.

Volunteer Hours

Merriam-Webster Definition of VOLUNTEER

1
: a person who voluntarily undertakes or expresses a willingness to undertake a service: as a: one who enters into military service voluntarily b (1): one who renders a service or takes part in a transaction while having no legal concern or interest (2): one who receives a conveyance or transfer of property without giving valuable considerationĀ 
Funny, this definition does NOT include “whipping boy”, “blame target” or “root of all evil”.
Let me start by saying, I love softball. I love playing it, watching it and for the past several years, coaching it. I’ve had some trials and tribulations, with the past three years being the most difficult. It was to the point that I had decided this year I would not coach, but be a “Mom” in the stands to Second Born Son. But he asked me to coach his team, and since I had only ever helped with First Born Son’s team, I felt it was only fair to help out at least once with SBS’ team.
In recent years there has been a pattern with the issues facing the coaching staff – the kids stop or never didĀ take it seriously (and by this, I don’t mean that they don’t have fun, they just fail to engage in the sport), then the parents get all annoyed that the team isn’t doing well, then gets in the coaches’ grill about how they handle the kids.
Personally, I have taken the view that organized sport is a prepping ground for real life. Sometimes you win. Sometimes you lose. Sometimes you can do your best and some (umpires) can prevent you from winning. Working hard and practicing pays off. You won’t get a gold star just for showing up, you actually have to excel to be acknowledged. Mediocre is just that. These life lessons are why we’ve signed the kids up for organized sport.
But I’m among the minority, apparently. Parents want their children lauded for simply standing on a base. If I ask them to hold their glove in a ready position (partly to “look” like a ball player and mostly to prevent them from eating a ball) I’m being harsh. This revelation was given to me cold and hard by an irate parent, just this evening. This same parent hosted his own ball practice with certain members of the team, but failed to invite, ironically, the three kids whose parents are on the coaching staff.
Such negative and divisive actions have impacted the team pretty much from the beginning of the year. The kids feed of their parent’s energy and combined with their own less than ambitious outlook, end up being a team that could win many more games, but don’t.
It’s unfortunate. I feel bad for the kids who will someday go out into the real world and find out that Mom and Dad can’t hold their hand while they are at their first full timeĀ job. I’m sorry for the parents who will look back at this time in their child’s development and realize that there was a service being paid in how coaches motivate and indeed criticizedĀ their children – and how their children were able to use that motivation. We play numerous teams in a year and most of the coaches are strict. I’ve heard much more severe comments made from other benches – the teams played better, the parents were supportive of the coaches and that results in wins – which is what all teams strive for.
What it comes down to is this – I’ve volunteered in minor sports for nine years. I’ve never taken a year off. The time has come. I never suggested I knew everything about softball, and indeed have enjoyed the fact that I’ve been able to learn as I’ve move along as well. But to have a parent be critical and suggest I, and my colleagues, are doing a bad job – when they themselves never learned how to play the sport, well, it’s simply insulting.
Sadly, minor sports are experience a drought of volunteers as severe as the lack of rain we had in July. Teams will not be formed without adult volunteers, but who would want to step up, knowing parents and in some cases, players, are ready to tear them down? Individuals with much more experience than I have been dragged through the mud, all because a parent felt their child may have been slighted. I would never have volunteered to coach children if I didn’t like kids. I would never offer my time if I didn’t feel I had something to contribute. To be told otherwise is hurtful.
I don’t know what the answer is for the issue at large, but I know I won’t be signing up for any more volunteer hours any time soon.