I have always tried to teach my kids that to make it in the world; you have to pay your dues. That no one just gets lucky and hard work makes luck. I’m wondering now if it’s time to eat my words…paying your dues sometimes results in nothing. Not in Eaton Sports anyway.
Before I go much further here, let me preface this by saying that this is only my OPINION. Of which I am entitled to. You may not and don’t have to like it. You may and certainly CAN have a different opinion. And if you do, by all means share it with me so maybe I can see this from a different light. Because I would LOVE to.
I am not one of “those” parents. And you know of whom I speak. The parent that is constantly calling the coach, asking for preferential treatment for their child. The parent that thinks just because their child has played a sport for so many years that they are automatically entitled to play on the varsity team, or be named the MVP of the year. Although I may not always agree with the choices made, I TRY to give the benefit of the doubt. But I think those days might be over.
My son has played soccer since 5th grade. He is now a sophomore in high school and plays on the Eaton Men’s JV high school soccer team. He LOVES to play soccer. Even with the extreme time-commitment it requires, the 2-a-day practices in the hottest days of summer, and games that have him home way later than he should be on a school night. He loves to play simply for the pure sport of the game.
But this year has been extremely rough. Soccer actually started this past spring, with conditioning and “intensity” training. He went to every single one of those things. Because when the season began, he was told by the head coach that if he committed to the team, to the practices, that he could and would go FAR.
My son went to every single summer practice. He was ready to go far. The only times he missed were a couple, for illness and because of an important doctors appointment. He made me drag my butt out of bed at 7:30 on Saturday mornings just so he could get to practice :) I tell you, this kid had more commitment than I did at 15-16 years old. And it made me very proud.
So when he was put on JV again, I was fine with that. And so was he. After all, he is a sophomore. He still has skills to learn. He still has dues to pay. I guess what maybe should have given me cause for concern is the handful of players that walked in LATE in the summer to join soccer, and landed right on Varsity. What happened to paying dues? Maybe it SHOULD have tipped me off as to what the season would be like. But it didn’t.
Maybe it was the JV season that was cancelled halfway thru due to “lack of players”. OK, this wasn’t the coaches’ fault per se, but I do know of one coach on the team that was pulling for JV to continue, even with lean numbers. After all, how much can you improve when bench sitting? Though the team was lean, there were still enough for a game.
I should have had more of a bad taste in my mouth after hearing about the senior dinner. When one of the coaches said to a parent to just handle it...it wasn’t his concern and he had no reason to be there. REALLY? Is this the type of coach I want for my son?
My idea of a coach is a person who you can turn to. A person you can trust and maybe even confide in or talk to about your troubles, when and if you can't turn to your parents. And here is a coach that doesn’t even want to concern himself with a dinner to celebrate and recognize his senior players?
Still, we kept chugging along. Making it to the practices and the games. Even through all the games where the boys walked off the field bloodied up to get a lecture about having “no heart”. Even through watching my son and his peers be “ball boys” due to a JV season unrealized. Even through watching freshman and last minute join-ins play Varsity while a handful of boys consistently warmed the bench? And HOW do they expect them to ever be better? And while I know that some of these freshman and walk-ins have been soccer players since they could walk…come on…not ALL of them.
How about when the Varsity doesn’t perform to the standards of the coach? So they throw in JV to “punish” the other players. Who is this punishing? Telling the Varsity they have no heart when these boys give it their all? The JV boys who get thrown in at a moments notice because their coach looks at this as “punishment” for the others? How does that help morale?
And now here we are today, at tournament time. At practice yesterday, it was announced that only 21 players could go. And that 4 would not be going. You know where this is going…my son was one of the 4 left behind. Sure he could go…if he was willing to PAY admission and sit with the crowd in the stands. So what does my son do? He texts his coach and his friends today to tell them to please relay this message to the team…”GOOD LUCK”.
That makes me want to cry. In fact, I have cried over this. What do I tell my son about why he couldn’t go? That he just isn’t good enough? Though I have heard so many comments from parents and assistant coaches on just how much he HAS improved.
Do I say it’s because he didn’t pay his dues? No. Because he did. Even with a respiratory issue, he did. And not mid-season. From the get-go. From way back in spring when it was just him and 5 other boys at the intensity training. Don't you think those 6 or 7 boys that were there at the very get-go should have been rewarded for THAT kind of commitment? I do.
Do I tell him that hard work makes luck? No. Because in this case it’s a lie. Keeping a 4.0 GPA in school along with making all of the practices didn’t make a bit of difference.
And what will I tell him next soccer season? IF he even plays. Because at this point, the future of Eaton Men’s soccer looks very bleak with the number of boys wanting to quit. What will I say? Pay your dues? Work hard? Or just hope for the best and prepare for the worst? Because that might be the true reality of Eaton Mens soccer.
Thanks for reading!
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Kelley Weimer is a full-time Real Estate professional serving the residential and light commercial needs of Southwest Ohio, including Preble County, Montgomery County, Butler and Darke Counties. She serves the needs of today's home buyers and home sellers, working for one of the area's top real estate brokerages, Preble Plus Realty, LLC. Making real estate dreams come true since 2002, Kelley prides herself on honest, friendly service; staying on the edge of technology yet always keeping the focus on good ole' communication. For your real estate dreams, please contact Kelley today!