Category Archives: Softball

Benched because she started her Period…

She was in the 6th grade and it was summertime during the softball District All-Star Tournament.  The team had a game the night before and she had a fabulous game.  The coach told her she had the starting position in the outfield the next day.  This was a girl that had to work twice as hard as most of the girls to get to where she was as athletics did not come naturally.

After the game she ran into the bathroom only to find out her period had come for the very first time ever!  Somehow the coach, a great guy, with several young girls of his own, got wind of it.  The next night she had another game only this particular All-Star game she didn’t start.  This would normally have been fine except that she was told she would start and didn’t even get a chance to play, which was very abnormal.

After the game she asked the coach why he didn’t play her.  The coach looked at her and said, “Well I heard you started your period yesterday and I didn’t think you would be feeling like playing today.”  She said “I feel fine” and walked away, then found us and told us what he had said.  Talk about an intrusion into someone’s personal business.  An assumption made on a stereotype.  We later talked to the coach about the situation at a more appropriate time and he was very apologetic to both my daughter and to us for his stereotyping!

During those very delicate 11-12 year old All-Star years, a time when many girls become women, there should be a female on the coaching team or at the very least in the dugout with the girls for just this reason.

As for you dads and male coaches out there who coach girls ages 11-13; just know your players are going to become women during this time and YOU need to be prepared!  Don’t assume and treat these girls like they are sick puppies.  Instead, ask them how they feel, especially if you have reason to believe they are not up to playing.  They will tell you how they feel and you will be showing respect and courtesy towards your player.  After all, a key to youth sports is to build self-esteem and be supportive of your team players.

“Neutered Coaches” – Avoid them at all Costs…

There are a lot of them out there!  Neutered coaches that are such wimps they can’t even tell a player she’s been cut from the team.  Baseball, soccer, and softball have some of the worst!

My daughter was 14 years old and had sustained a shoulder injury but managed to get through the rest of the ASA season.  She was a catcher and outfielder and her life was all about softball.  The season ended with a trip to the ASA Softball World Series.  The team was tight and most of the girls truly liked each other, which was rare for that age!

A month after the World Series this select team was the very last one in the area to hold tryouts.  Because it was a select team, it wasn’t under the umbrella of an organization.  This meant they could conduct tryouts any which way they wanted to.  There were 18 spots on the team and 38 girls trying out.  However, he decided since there were so many players they would have an “A” team and a ”B” team. The coach assured all the returning players they would make one of the teams.   None of the girls were worried (at least outwardly) about getting bumped down to the “B” team…but maybe they should have been.

The coach said he was going to send an e-mail to all the players letting everyone know which team they were on by the end of the next day.  We waited and waited as the days went by. Finally, a friend on the team forwarded my daughter the e-mail that had been sent out to the other 37 girls who tried out letting them know what team they were on.  My daughter’s name was not on either list!  We didn’t panic and told her it must have been on over sight.  My husband then called the coach to find out what was going on.

This is where it got really interesting.  He said that he thought she was injured and he wanted her to rest her shoulder, so he didn’t put her on a team.  What the heck?  Her injury was mild and only needed a 4 week rest, according to her physical therapist.  She was at tryouts, tried out, and he saw her!  He didn’t talk to her about taking time off.  He didn’t tell her she would be placed on any injured reserve list. He never even talked to our kid during tryouts, never! You were simply on the team or not on the team. He told them.

The teams (both A and B) had their team kickoff BBQ meeting the night before and we were not invited or included, that’s when we got the hint.  We were flabbergasted and I had a daughter that was devastated. This team had been her life for several years.   Cut from a team and the coach didn’t even bother to tell her.  Talk about inflicting intentional wounds and abusing a coach’s power.  Try explaining that to a 14 year old.  And the worst part of it all, there was not a darn thing we could do about it…nothing, absolutely nothing !  It was the beginning of the end of a sport.

I know I am not the only one out there that has had this kind of experience, they happen all the time in youth sports.  Is there anyone you know who has had a similar experience, their kid was cut by a neutered coach, someone who didn’t have the decency or guts to be honest with a kid?

When there is no recourse to a coach like this, the best thing is to not waste time wallowing in self pity!  Pick yourself up and help pick your kid up and go try out for another team…there is always another team!