Friday, May 21, 2010

Shame On You!

High school sports. Ahhhh, those were the good ole days, right? Eh, I suppose.

Don't get me wrong, I love sports. I LOVE athletics! I really do, but sometimes the politics or something else got in the way of the game.

Let's take a look at my junior year of volleyball. That year, the coach's daughter was a freshman. She was a great athlete and so were a couple of her freshmen friends, but they weren't quite ready for the varsity level - or at least that's what the varsity team thought. Our coach felt different. Needless to say, the coach's daughter and her friends played varsity with us.

After we voiced our opinions on the matter of the younger girls' little experience, we had a "meeting" after one of our away games in our high school locker room. Here, our coach yelled at us. We took it in stride and some of the girls cried and some talked about it and some (me) just sat and took it all in. At one point, my friend Hayley accidentally knocked a table over and us girls giggled about it (because it was funny...and really late at night). Our coach thought we weren't taking the meeting seriously and stormed out. When she came back she yelled at us some more and said, "SHAME ON YOU!" This is an example of politics getting in the way of my love for volleyball.

I'm not saying that my coach was mean or anything, because she was a very good coach. At the time though, I just wanted to play the game without any drama.

Next came softball. Not so much politics in this sport, but other things. Like the year I was in a "slump" with another girl. Our coach moved us down in the batting order, instead of giving us a chance to hit. We never got to practice improving out hitting game during how were we supposed to get better? Magic? I don't think so. To top it off, my coach printed off an article on hitting slumps and handed them out before a game, where she announced that me and this other girl were both struggling and should really take this article seriously.

If Derek Jeter can go 0-a lot, then so can I. DJ and I had a slump going on at the same time. Except, he was still getting paid thousands and thousands of dollars and I was, well, wasn't.

Another softball moment. It was a windy day one game. I played center field. I had about three or four hits out to me one inning, and the wind would take the ball a lot further than expected. Naturally, because of this wind thing, I couldn't get to the ball in time. So my coach yells from the dugout, "KINSEY! CATCH THE BALL!!!"

I thought to myself, you come out here and try and catch the ball. It's not as easy as it looks. I have a lot of field to cover on top of this frickin' wind blowing the ball every which way. Does it look like I'm trying not to catch the ball??.

So anyway, this post probably sounds like a rant, but I loved high school sports...really, I did. It was just those few moments (which as I look back on them, have made me a better player) that weren't about the game so much as about politics or just about winning.

To me, that's not what sports are all about. It's about love for the game, diving for a ball on the gym floor, getting an ACE and celebrating in the middle of the court, hitting a double, throwing out the runner at home, and (as weird as this sounds) getting hit by a pitch and running down the line to first base where the assistant coach would say, "Pain is temporary, Pride is forever."

Then I would think, yeah, but that really hurt.


  1. That's wonderful. Politics skewed my view on sports around 14. I didn't hit a lot of missiles back then, but I always found a way to hit a seeing eye single, place one on the line, etc. and ended up hitting over .500 with an OPB over .600. I didn't get selected by my coach to be an All-Star because his son was on the team.

  2. Having lived thru those experiences with you (and your siblings)--I think people need to be trained to coach--just because you are an athlete does NOT make you a good coach.

    I said it before and I'm saying it again-Coaching with a negative and nasty manner does not make better athletes/teams.
    It has been proven that people who have been coached in an encouraging atmosphere are the ones who become the best athletes due to a better feeling about the game and their selves; resulting in a positive team.
    Enough said, I could write a book!!:)

  3. Politics is exactly the reason I didn't play sports in high school because it was what our school was all about... Actually, I was on the dance team for a whole 3 weeks once. Then I did the unthinkable and started dating the star wide receiver on the football team... who just happened to be black. The next week I was voted off the team for "conduct unbecoming of a Lady Brave." Politics are even better in the South where you have prejudice mixed in.

  4. My favorite was "you have to give 110%".

  5. Thank God I didn't do sports, as I was a weakling and so how made friends with ever gym teacher in high school and got out of gym class ( I got out of home ec, as well). I still can't cath or throw a call of any kind.

    Peace, Love and Chocolate

  6. Don't get ME started on athletics in High School. Remember my senior year of High School? How I didn't get All Conference because I stuck up for the freshmen? I had a much better EVERYTHING than the other members of our team!

  7. ha, i think we've all been's frustrating when we are controlled by those whose actions are driven by personal rather than utilitarian concerns...weak individuals;)

  8. Our volleyball coach did something similar-she always let her favorites play, even if they weren't the best and the rest of us were always getting yelled at for stuff we didn't do!

  9. I joined the water polo team back in high school despite my uhh relatively small build. Needless to say, I can't really 'wrestle' with the opponents so I was told to play 'controller', a position similar to 'Point Guard' in basketball, only thing is I have to switch position with a bigger guy during defence. My coach barks at me on a daily basis. "IDIOT!"
    "BLUR!" "BUGGER!"

    It did improve my game. Period. But I sorta lost interest in the game after a while. I became more committed when he left. Then, he came back. Dang!

    In 1997, I was replaced by an Uzbekistan guy at the very last minute in a National quarter final match. I found out later that that Uzbekistan dude (novice) was a relative to a coach whom we want on our team. "Grade A" coach so to speak.

    Fortunately, we became good friends after that:)