Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Drama Mama

I've long held fast that I keep a "No Drama Zone" around me and my family. I don't like tension or unhappiness. I don't like to butt my nose into other peoples' lives. Their decisions and choices are just that...theirs. I try so hard not to judge others.

So imagine my surprise this week when I found myself adrift in a sea of it. It began innocently enough...at baseball practice. Brendan has had a difficult time hitting this year. We thought it was just him - we recently realized that his coaches made him nervous and he froze up when he was at bat. He can hit at the batting cages, off assorted pitching machines, for Mr. C, and even for other coaches - but not for his. This has been frustrating for all of us involved. The coaches were putting more pressure on him and threatening to make him bunt when he was at the plate, he was just about at the point of a nervous breakdown, and Mr. C and I were just having to suffer through watching it.

So...fast forward to Monday night. Baseball practice before the big game on Tuesday. We arrived already nervous. Tension was high. Bren got up to hit and the coach was throwing too fast. Rather than slow it down, the coach kept correcting everything Bren did - "you moved your foot!", "you swung below the ball!", "you shifted in the box!", "stay in the box!". . . Suddenly, one coach decides Bren will just practice bunting. The coach was throwing outside pitches and Bren was having to lean over the plate to make any contact. Then he got yelled at for hitting off the tip of the bat (but if he is having to lean over the plate, doesn't it make sense that only the tip would be hitting the ball?). Anyway, coach become frustrated, I am ready to go all ninja and jump the guy, and Bren is a bundle of nerves. The coach gets right in his face and yells,

"YOU WILL NEVER GET A HIT IN A GAME
IF YOU DON'T BUNT!!!!".

The camel's back broke and I said, "Actually, Bren can actually hit the ball quite well, he just can't hit it for you. You make him nervous. He subbed in a game on Saturday and hit 8 balls in a row to the outfield during batting practice with their coach.". The coach shot back, "Well, I have yet to see that!". I informed him he could call the other coach and ask. The next thing I know, coach is zinging the next pitch at my son and hit him square on the elbow. I know accidents happen, and I would've been "ok" (barely OK, but OK nonetheless) if he had showed any sort of care or concern. Instead, rather than asking if Bren was hurt, or even apologizing, the coach turned his back toward home plate, faced the outfield, and stayed there until my son went to the dugout . . . alone. I ran in and within 10 seconds, the elbow was already pure blue from bruising. I spoke with the other coach, then took Bren home.

Meanwhile...Mr. C arrives on the field via another entrance (so he doesn't see me as I leave with the kids). He watches the pitching and makes a comment to the other coach that the pitches are awfully fast for these kids to hit. He notices the coach is throwing at least 50-60 mph. Mr. C then asks where Brendan is and he is informed that we had left due to Brendan being hit.

The elbow looks bad and we decide to take him in for x-rays. Luckily nothing was broken (thank heavens because that bone usually requires surgery).
Neither coach calls to check on him or apologize.
I am upset and I email our league board member to discuss. The league is now furious at their behavior. All I want is an apology for Bren (not for the hit, but for the coach ignoring him after the hit) and to make sure the kids are safe. The league shows up before the game last night and the coaches try to say Bren had leaned into the pitch - then tried to say they didn't know he'd been hit. They are threatened with permanent removal from coaching (which is not what we wanted), and the game commences.

After the game, Mr. C tried to talk to the head coach (NOT the one who threw the pitch that hit Bren), and the coach is mad at US. WE are the bad guys. Several parents are mad at us now, as well. all I was trying to do was keep these boys safe. What would've happened if I had done like 90% of the other parents do and just dropped him off for practice, then returned to pick him up when it was over? Would he have sat alone in the dugout with a possible broken elbow for 2 hours? I just told the league rep that we need to be sure these kids are safe when they are on the field.

So, we are sending Brendan to Brooks Lake with Mr. C's sister until July 5 so he can get away from all of this. Hopefully the furor will die down in his absence. He'll be home in time for playoffs, and can decide if he even wants to play again.

Now, I realize I made mistakes in this, too.

I should not have argued with the coach in front of Bren and the other kids. I should've taken him aside and spoken to him privately. My bad. I accept that.

What I did not know before contacting the league was that there had already been several complaints lodged against these two coaches. I was not the first. I was unaware that the league was already watching things on the team. But, nobody remembers the first two outs in an inning, they only remember the final one that ends it. We are the heels in the situation.

So, after coming home at 9 pm last night, I emailed both coaches and apologized for my part in this. Of course, neither have responded, nor do I expect them to. They are angry and want someone to blame. I also want to say that, usually, these two guys are really great. They are fathers and husbands who are eager to volunteer for their children. I didn't want to be involved in any of this either. Oh, how I wish Bren had not been hit. I didn't want him injured. I didn't want to watch him suffer physical, as well as emotional pain. I wish I had kept him home from practice that night like I wanted to.

But, I cannot change the past. All I can do is move forward and re-enter my
"No Drama Zone".
I am not a Drama Mama.
I plan to keep it that way.

4 comments:

ChloƩ: said...

This makes me SO mad. Poor Bren. His coach is lucky I wasn't there... I would have went all crazy-hormonal-pregnant lady on him. Haha :) I'm glad he's okay.

Suzanne said...

Wow! I say hats off to YOU for defending Bren!

Jackie said...

That's ridiculous! I can just imagine how you felt....I would have cried. I think kids have fragile feelings most of the time not to mention that he was hurt physically. I can't believe how competitive people can be. I hope I never have to deal with that sort of thing when Kaitlyn gets older. I hope Bren isn't too upset by it.

Houston said...

I still can't believe all this... makes me so angry... but you're a great Mama and these guys deserve whatever they have coming... their choices = their problem.