The following consists of the pathetic inner thoughts of a failed youth softball coach, one who sits just hours away from an 0-10 start to the season:
After sitting on the sidelines and watching my daughter suffer through a season under the most useless basketball coach in the history of the sport, I decided to get active this spring. She’s 10, and wanted to play softball. So I decided I’d coach her.
I’m terrible at it.
As I write this, we are four hours away from our weekly doubleheader against the only other team in this two-team league. We are 0-8, having lost a pair of heartbreakers (12-3, 15-2) last time out. Many of you reading this are younger than me, and that’s fine. Any time you can be younger, you gotta do it. But consider some of this blog to be advice.
Here are some things I’ve learned:
Never run the bases alongside a 10-year-old girl while screaming at her to run faster.
Never throw a bat into the crowd in disgust.
Never begin a discussion with the opposing coach by saying, “I’m 6-5, you know.”
Never pick up a bat and ride it around like a horse when your daughter gets a hit.
My team consists of 13 girls. I would take a bullet for all 13. But when it comes to softball, we’ve got issues. Softball is all about pitching, and we don’t really have one. The other team has Nolan Ryan. I have one girl who’s 7, but wanted to play with the 10-year-olds because they looked more fun. I have another girl who is completely normal on the surface but immediately begins screaming and crying the second the ball is hit her way. Last game, a slow grounder came toward her and she screamed “I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO!” and threw the ball into right field. I have one girl who’s a travel ball player. She’s my best player and she hates every one of her teammates and despises me. Then there’s my daughter, who can do whatever she wants.
Then there’s my wife, who as an assistant coach spends her time keeping the team in the right batting order while simultaneously scanning the crowd to look at the men she should’ve married.
Here’s two things about being a youth softball coach: First, no matter how nice you are or how successful you are, the parents are talking about you behind your back and occasionally they accidentally send “Where did this dude come from?” to the team’s group text. Second, the adults care more than the kids.
Seriously, whether you’re in Bangor, Maine, or Fulton, Mississippi, or Dallas or Seattle, the parents care more than the kids. I spend all week obsessing over our lineup, worrying about how I’m going to act, convincing myself of what I really should have said to the other coach. Then the game happens, I lose and I’m devastated.
My daughter? She spends all week texting her friends, playing Nintendo Switch and when the game ends, her only concern is whether I’ll let her get a cheese dip at the postgame Mexican meal.
So once more into the breach I go. I’m off to get destroyed in two softball games, to the only place in the world where my prowess makes my gambling abilities look good.