Bad dad?

Our soccer season is under way. I had planned to be just a parent this year. But that changed. Instead I’m coaching. I’m not complaining. I like it. But it’s work. It’s a sacrifice of time. 3 hours a week for practice and anywhere from one to three games a week at an hour and twenty minutes each.

Our first game was a loss, 0-3. Last night’s game was a win, 3-2. It was an away game that got started late. We were supposed to start at 7pm. We didn’t get started until 7:25pm. The last 5 minutes of the game (8:30pm) were so dark the players could not even tell jersey colors apart. To make matters worse the ball the home team used was dark colored. Eventually parents went to their cars and turned on headlights to light up the field. (I will have to remember this the next time we have to play an evening game.)

The goals scored against us were in the final 6 minutes. I was never so happy to hear the final whistle blow!

The biggest mistake we made was bunching up. It was like watching Candy League (kindergartners) playing. I constantly saw 3 of our girls swarm the ball. The opposing team resisted the “bumble bee” effect and once the ball broke loose our team got beat every time. Tomorrow’s practice will be spent in going over the basics of staying spread out.

I was glad to chalk up a win. I was beginning to worry we would not post a win all season after seeing how poorly the team performed at our first game. They really came together. The opposing coach even came over at halftime to tell me he was impressed with how well they worked together. I told him it was a shock to me because I didn’t think any of the drills we had done in practice were paying off. It showed last night. We will be doing more of the same drills at tomorrow’s practice.

D2 was on a high after winning and was reliving the game and talked about how unfairly she was treated by an opposing players .. and that’s when the coach in me mentioned the “bumble-bee” effect and I told her she was one of the bumble-bees … instead of being a dad and letting her tell it her way. Man I’m a jerk. I realized it only after I said it. It was what my dad used to do to me after any event I was in. There were little criticisms. I know they were to there to help me do better the next time. But there was never a praise for how well we did as a team. And I did just that. I apologized. But the damage was done. I have got to get that dad hat on and lift my girls up when they achieve something instead of finding something they can improve on.

I guess it’s true that we learn our parenting skills from our parents. My mom would praise. Dad would critique. That was how it worked. I, we (my brother and sisters) would always tell mom first and then tell dad. Because I knew there would be something he thought I could improve on. My grades were never good enough. My sporting achievements were never good enough (basketball, soccer, bowling, marksmanship). Even being the youngest Eagle Scout in my troop’s history wasn’t good enough get approval.

It wasn’t until after my mom passed away that I realized I was still trying to get my dad’s approval. At 33 I was realizing that it didn’t matter anymore. I was in charge of my own life. And the only one I needed to “please” was myself ( … and my wife 😀 !). I don’t want my girls to feel that way. I need to step up to the plate and lift them up daily! Home is supposed to be a safe harbor. A place to come and feel good.

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4 Comments

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4 responses to “Bad dad?

  1. I’m coaching too, but boys (because the girls drive me nuts.) We just started, practice goes into swing tomorrow. We sort of balance the two, she needs you to be coach AND dad. She needs to hear how great she was, and where it could have been better… just maybe not in the same sentence. 😉 From everything you said, you’re a good Dad, not a bad dad. Make sure YOU don’t forget to give yourself props where it’s due too.

  2. We came up with a new rule. I wear one hat to the ball games and once the game is over and I step off the field (before I get to the car) I need to change hats (literally!). Wife has agreed to take a second ball cap to each game for me to put on afterward. That way I know I am making the transition from coach to dad.

    I talked with D2 about it and she understood (just like I did) that my comments were designed to make her a better player. And I said that is ho I used to feel. My dad (who wasn’t coach) did the same thing. If mom was the one carting me to a game I got the reassurance that I did well.

    A daughter’s relationship with her dad is important. It will influence who she picks as a husband. Which makes me wonder why my wife picked me?! I’m nothing like her dad. So maybe that theory doesn’t fit. I just don’t want them falling for the first guy who gives them attention. And so far they haven’t. I’m still waiting for that first big heartache … oh the drama that will unfold …

  3. My daughter started chatting about who likes who at school right now, and my husband was hit with a sudden urge to clean all his hunting riffles/shotguns (I never understood the difference.)

    In the end, making sure your daughter knows you love her is the biggest thing. It sounds like that isn’t even a question in her mind. It sounds like you’re doing just great. 🙂

  4. Shotguns and rifles are different. But both are very effective!

    You are so right. I am tough on them. But they do know that ultimately their dad loves them and would do just about anything for them.

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