This past week, I had a run-in with a parent from my soccer team. I yelled at their daughter for poor sportsmanship during a game.
At the beginning of the season, I explained some basic ground rules and sportsmanship being one of those key elements that trumps all. So when our team accidently scored against ourselves, and this player cheered for the other team, she was sternly corrected.
They took it out on me after the game – which comes with being coach. I wanted to explain, but they would not hear it. After much discussion, they decided to quit the team. Last night after practice they approached me again in front of the girls trying to make a point. Again, I tried to explain why she was corrected, but they dismissed it as “she didn’t do that.” Never mind that she did and there were 3 teammates and a coach who directly witnessed it.
I feel terrible about the situation. I failed. As a leader, coach and Christian I feel like I failed. In reflection, I ask what I could have done differently. Not said anything?
What about the player who she was teasing? I have an obligation to her too.
Waited until after the game? The lesson would have been watered down.
I should have spoken to her, pulled her from the game, and sent her to sit with her parents. But I didn’t. Next time I know what I’ll do differently….
I also realized that some people want to be victims. No matter the circumstances, they want someone to blame. In this instance, everything is my fault and they remain the victim.
I’m thankful for this humbling lesson and praying God will make me a better man as a result.