I got an email yesterday afternoon from one of the girls on my team’s mother that immediately put me on edge. She told me that they had reevaluated the cost of traveling for our practices which are an hour away from them, and that she wasn’t sure they could afford it. She asked how her daughter might be released and move on from the team. My immediate reaction was disappointment, because to me it seemed like they were giving up without a fight. This had happened earlier in the season with a girl whose dad called me one day and basically said, “We’re gone.” So, based on previous experience and the language of the email, I was expecting the worst. This was especially frustrating to me because they had always been such a supportive, do-anything-for-our-daughter family.
Fortunately, I perceived the situation wrong. They had tried to look into carpooling and discount tollway passes, tried fund raisers, and still the price was adding up to a staggering number. We talked for a while and they assured me that both they and their daughter wanted to stay with the team and wanted to stick around and try to make it work. This made me feel much better about the situation, and now I and the other coaches feel more than willing to help them out in any way we can.
This is an example of how, in an age of self-serving and entitled athletes, some can rise to the occasion. I’m very proud to have an example of that on my team. All of the college coaches I’ve talked to have said that is the biggest issue they have with this generation of athletes. Sports get tough and often very expensive. It’s my goal as a coach to both encourage and help my girls push through those times. This is a very small but meaningful step toward changing attitudes in youth sport.