The Big Kid and Basketball Part X … Letting My Daughter Down

[Continued from The Big Kid and Basketball Part IX … Playing with a Girl?]

As Fall approached Haylee was talking about basketball more and more.  Her passion and excitement for the game increased exponentially since first asking me to play with her; and her anticipation of playing 6th grade girls Gorham recreational basketball was palpable.

“Daddy, will you coach me in recreational basketball?”

Oh my. I am drained. The boys season still fresh in my mind. The infamous “you are the worst coach ever” E-mail still etched in my cerebral cortex.

I reflected back on what a wonderful physician friend of mine had shared about the differences in coaching girls and boys, “Girls have a passion for being together and a willingness to play as a team; they focus more so on the game and less so on the score.”

I also recalled the movie “The Heart of the Game” about an unorthodox girls’ basketball coach in Seattle who had nurtured an amazing program. From the movie’s tagline: “THE HEART OF THE GAME captures the passion and energy of a Seattle high school girls’ basketball team, the eccentricity of their unorthodox coach.”

I love my daughter.  I love playing basketball (and other sports) with her.

[NOTE: My favorite thing to do with my daughters is watching them both perform in their dance recitals (but that is for another post)]

I don’t know if I am capable of coaching a girls’ team.

Am I eccentric (like the Seattle coach)? Perhaps.

Do I have unorthodox coaching philosophies and is my style of coaching different than my peers? Absolutely. (I’ve been told.)

As I am continuing to learn how to coach a boys’ team and striving to position each of these boys for success on and off the court am I truly what my daughter and this girls’ team really need (especially when there are experienced coaches available)?

Serendipitously (and literally) the next day I received an E-mail from the same individual who informed me that I was the worst coach ever.

As I saw the subject of the E-mail “Coaching” and who it is from (Brian Boxswain) I was taken aback and thought:

“Well, Haylee’s request has been answered.  Knowing Brian believes me to be the worst coach ever this must be a sign from God that I am not supposed to coach Haylee’s rec team.”

And then I opened the E-mail.

Dear Tom,

It appears Haylee and Sue (this fellow’s daughter who attended Tommy’s practices with Haylee on many occasions) will be playing rec basketball on the same team.  I intend to coach but will be traveling a lot.  Would you be interested in coaching with me? I believe it would be fun to coach together.

Just let me know.

Brian

Huh? (Still have my way with words) What am I supposed to do with this?  Is this a bad joke? He said I was the worst coach ever. I don’t understand.

I still have the open wounds from the previous E-mail. Just seeing the subject of this E-mail made my gut hollow out. I don’t want to disappoint my daughter but I cannot coach with this individual.  Not after what he wrote.  Not now understanding what he ‘truly’ thinks of me.

In sharing this E-mail with my bride she knew exactly what to say (as always).

“Why do you always do this to yourself? What you read in that original E-mail and what that original E-mail said were not the same thing. And I know for a fact Brian thinks you are a great coach. Besides, would he have asked you to coach with him if he didn’t respect you as a coach?”

Doc shared more that evening and logically I knew her to be right (she always is … but don’t tell her I said so) and yet …

And yet even with this new wisdom (shared with both care and love) I was not ready to coach a second team.  (At least I convinced myself that this was a truth. My truth.)

“Haylee, I love you.  It appears Mr. Boxswain has been selected to coach your team.  He has asked me to coach with him. But…

(as I held back tears) …

… this year I would love to continue to play basketball with you on Sundays, have you continue to join Tommy’s practices (our practices) [and to myself I made note to ensure I am far more mindful of Haylee’s play during these practices], and also for me to attend all of your games as a spectator so that I can thoroughly enjoy watching you play the game you love.”

Gulp.

“I hope you understand.”

“Oh, Daddy, I love playing with you and Tommy.  I would love you to coach me but of course I understand.  You can coach me on the weekends.  Mr. Boxswain can coach me during the week.”

Yup … roll tears.

Why are my children so much more mature than me?

I am so blessed and so grateful for all three of my children. I am so humbled each and every day and inspired by all three of them to grow, mature, and to be better than I really am.

I am also quite impacted by how I am letting my daughter down.

TO BE CONTINUED …

Next “The Big Kid and Basketball Part XI … Chest Day!

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