Reality Check

I got a nice gut punch this morning. By way of background, a former player who we had asked to our home for Thanksgiving dinner last year when he couldn’t go home and had nowhere to go, who had been a very positive influence in my children’s lives, decided not to come back for this season and school year. Now, I have no idea why he made this decision. I’ve wondered, sure. When we saw him last May he was excited to come back and finish what the team had started. Over the weekend, a mutual friend of ours on Facebook had commented on a post he had made. Curious, I clicked on it. What I saw made me almost sick.

The post that our mutual friend had commented on was a bit of a rant mixed with some nostalgia about not being able to play on Saturdays and opining that others were taking advantage of his hard work and blood, sweat and tears to make it happen. Following that were comments from friends lending support. It was toward the end of the comments that he had chimed in with anecdotes about how “unprofessional” the coaching staff was and how “unfair” the program here had been to him. I was immediately upset. Yes, the program was overhauled last year but he was a part of that overhaul. And yes, some players did not play as much as before, but that’s what happens when a new staff comes in.

Now, I know that I am overprotective of my husband’s job. He works hundreds of hours a week, sees his family as much as possible and works his tail off. The same goes for the other coaches on the staff. Of all the staffs we have been on, this is by far the best we’ve had. The family aspect is very close, both within the staff and on the team. Parents have told me they appreciate the family feel and players have made it clear in exit interviews, recruiting trips, etc. that they feel the family aspect of the team is one of the main reasons they play here. Which I think is why that posting caught me so off guard. Especially considering this young man had fit the mold so well. We truly had embraced him as part of our family and seeing him say those hurtful things for the world to see stung. It stung more than it should have and much more than I had expected it to.

Now that I’ve had some time to digest and step away from it, I know there are 2 sides to this. I have no doubt he felt that something had happened that was not fair. I have no doubt that whatever it was probably wasn’t as bad as he perceived. That’s human nature; we blow things out of proportion that in reality aren’t a huge problem. I also have no doubt that better communication on both sides probably could have resolved the issue. It’s too late for all of that now. Regardless of his comments, I will always consider him part of “the family”. I’ve had hundreds of honorary sons over the years and he will always be one of them. I will continue to cheer him on in life and in football. I don’t know the story nor will I probably ever know and that’s okay. It really is.

What this moment taught me more than anything is this: Open communication. Always. Talking out your problems is key. It’s a lesson most of us could probably use on a daily basis. For myself, I need to take things like this far less personally. Whatever happened probably had nothing to do with me or my children. I need to separate myself and understand that this is not the first time, nor will it be the last, that a player leaves and has mean things to say afterward. Decisions should never be made in an emotional or angry moment, yet that’s when we as humans seem to make the most drastic of them. So despite the fact that this was not the way I had hoped to start my day, I am going to embrace it, make it a teaching moment, put it aside, pray for him and his continued endeavors and continue on with the season. We can only change what we can control. And this I cannot.

Be blessed, all! What is your personal teaching moment for today?

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