Beatitudes of my life

Being grateful for everything in my life…. no matter what…

A story with an unhappy ending… April 28, 2012

Filed under: Lacrosse,Parenting,Sports — beatitudesofmylife @ 7:08 pm
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Be forewarned… this is a story without a happy ending.  As much as I wish for a better ending, this is not possible… and all this disappointment is because of one man.  Let me begin where all stories should begin… at the beginning.

My older son, D, started playing lacrosse in his junior year of HS.  His brother had been playing the sport for a few years and had truly found his sport.  E had always been a natural athlete, but this sport just fit him to a “T”.  As a result, D decided to try his hand at the same sport.  He loved it, but he always had to work harder to pick up and master the skills that seemed to come naturally to his younger brother.  Where this could have created a great deal of jealousy, my boys seemed to use it as a bonding point.  They would discuss different ways of stringing a stick, debate offensive and defensive strategies, and were able to enjoy each another’s achievements without allowing it to create an antagonistic relationship between them.  They have always been each other’s biggest cheerleaders and for that, I will always be incredibly grateful.

When D  was a senior and making his college selection, he had narrowed his choices to two very different schools.  He was making the choice between a large in-state public university where he could be part of the marching band OR he could choose a small private out-of-state college where he had the opportunity to be a Varsity athlete.   He thought long and hard about this choice, but ultimately chose to go to a school where he had the chance to be a varsity athlete.  Having him choose my alma mater (the small, private, out-of-state school) made my heart sing, but the deciding factor for him was the possibility of playing college lacrosse… something he had never thought would be possible.  He was in heaven.

Playing lacrosse at this Division III college was a unique experience.  Since the college had only recently become a co-ed institution, their lacrosse program was very new.  When D attended his accepted students day, Coach D was the head coach; a great guy who was energetic and positive.  By the time D began his freshman year, Coach D had stepped down (he had accepted a new position at his job and it didn’t allow him time to devote to being the head coach) and Coach F had taken over.  Coach F was another positive guy; hard on the guys but fair in terms of discipline and expectations.  Coach F remained for two years and then Coach M took over just before D’s junior year.

From a parent’s perspective, Coach M was a nightmare in many ways.   His behavior embarrassed me, as an alum, but the seniors begged parents not to complain.  They were concerned that if coach found out whose parents complained that there would be repercussions for them on the field or in the amount of game time they might see.  We tried to give him the benefit of the doubt… the college must have seen something positive in him when they hired him, right?  D actually played in a few games during his junior year… making it into 6 games when the score difference was large enough to justify his participation.  He moved to long stick after spring break that year and was as positive as ever.  He asked me to please not say anything negative regarding my impressions of the coach and I tried mightily to honor his request.

D’s senior lacrosse season had a rough start when Coach M didn’t play him in any of the Fall Ball tournament games.  By Spring, we were determined to see as many of his game as possible, since this was his final season, and traveled to a majority of his games, both on campus and off.  I had been the team’s photographer since D’s freshman year, so I made his schedule my priority throughout the spring.  Each time we saw a game, no matter the final score, D was consistently positive, focused, and determined…. even though he never got to play in the game.

Injury plagued D throughout his college lacrosse career.  He had ankle, shin, and knee problems that kept him from being 100% at times, but he never failed to participate to the best of his ability.  His determination to be part of this team, no matter the amount of playing time, was a constant source of awe for us.  He put up with so much and worked so hard to be a contributing part of the team that we, stupidly, were hopeful about seeing him play at some point during his senior season.

As the season came to a close, we were truly hopeful that we’d seen the worst that Coach M could offer… surely he’d recognize the contributions and dedication that D had shown for four years…  but it was not to be.

Senior Night versus Marymount University started out in grand fashion.  The boys played their hearts out and held the lead for the entire game.  Sadly though, Coach M decided not to include THREE of our seniors.  All these three young men had been part of the team for four years, enduring 6AM practices, only two or three days off for Spring Break each year, and then were snubbed on the single day that was to have been dedicated to their contributions.  It was maddeningly offensive to me, but my son’s focus was, as always, on the team.  He was ok with the idea of not having played, because they won the game.  I could only stand on the sideline and fume privately as both hubby and son pleaded with me not to make a scene.  I honored their request… as much as I resented the need to do so… but prayed that honor would prevail for my son and the other seniors on their final game, played this past Friday.

D’s final college game was played on Friday, April 27th… but D did not play.  They lost that game 9-3.   When one of the other seniors, who had made it into the game, asked Coach M to put all the seniors in for the final 2 minutes of the game, he was told to shut up.  D and one other senior never saw the field.    Sadly, the ONLY time D made it onto the field during his entire senior MLAX season had already come and gone; during the Salisbury game on April 7th, when they lost 29-1…. and we weren’t there.

I wish I could say that I was enlightened enough to look at this situation from a more positive vantage point…. however, I truly believe that there was no earthly reason why my son was not included in either his senior night OR his final game in a Hood College uniform.  My son has endured all the elements that God can offer just to play the game he loves… but his coach, who should have had the foresight to realize the lasting impression he was providing my son and his fellow seniors, couldn’t be bothered.

I wish I could say that this story has a happy ending, but it doesn’t.  D’s college lacrosse career ended with nothing more than a tongue lashing at the team by their coach.  What should have been his happiest game, was not to be.

I am filled with pride for my son and his fellow seniors for the class they showed in persevering through four years of hard work to earn college degrees AND participate in four years of varsity lacrosse.

This coach hurt my son… and I will NEVER forget…

 

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6 Responses to “A story with an unhappy ending…”

  1. Mari Spina Says:

    How incredibly sad is this? I’m laying here with tears in my eyes feeling not only your pain but Drew’s as well. How awful to sit on the sidelines and watch this unfold. Even more sad that you experienced this at our alma mater which is so near and dear to our hearts. I’m sorry about this unhappy ending.

    Hugs and kisses.

    Mari

  2. andrea mahone Says:

    YOU ARE NOT ALONE!!!!!! MY SON WAS ASKED BY THAT SAME COACH IF HE WAS A RETARD!!! You were too kind by calling him a man!!!

  3. Ali,
    I’m so sorry to hear your (and D’s) experience. It is infuriating. And as a parent, trying to respect the wishes of your student athlete, you are pretty helpless to do anything to change the situation. This coach is they kind that gives all coaches a bad wrap. Pathetic in my book. I’m glad to hear D is handling it so well, hold on to that.
    You know he appreciates all the games you watched – whether he played or not – you are a great parent!
    Judy

  4. Laura Z Says:

    Hi Ali…I read your post with such disappointment. I can’t imagine the frustration and other unpleasant emotions this has brought forth for all of you. I’m going to preface my next statements with the “you know I’m not a glass half full” person. I really am not. I think some things just suck. This is one of them. AND, I know that it’s those things in my life that have been painful, or disappointing, or unfair in any combination–those are the places where I’ve learned the most about myself. I’m hopeful, and I really am, that you and D have an epiphany of some sort about this situation. It may not come for months, maybe not even for years. And it is not one where you are likely to say the facts are different. This person was a jerk no matter how you look at it…yet, there is an message, a life lesson in the wake of the reality that D and other teammates were treated so poorly. They were loyal, they were committed. I have no doubt that D’s faith in being a good human despite the circumstances remains unshaken. I’m sorry that he experienced such treatment, at Hood no less. A very wise person once told me, in a dark time I experienced a few years back: “there are Judas’s everywhere, Laura. Beware. But not so much that you give up on people all together”. Very good advice for someone who is likely to do just that: give up the whole bunch because of a bad apple. This of course doesn’t come close to describing you~but the front part of the message could be a good warning: Look out for Judas.
    Better experiences will come toward both of you as a result of handling this one with grace. I hope too that you find a way to formally lodge a complaint. If you want help authoring a letter, let me know. I can be, well, downright scary when necessary….
    Peace…

  5. Sue Hastings Says:

    Well written. I’m sure this sort of thing happens other places, but to have it happen at our alma mater puts a personal face to the issue. I wonder what the thought process was for that coach, especially to deny the Seniors their game in the spotlight! I hope the whole experience hasn’t turned D off to any future opportunities he may have to play the game.

  6. Wow Alison!! I now see the “situation” you referenced on FB. What a tough, upsetting situation! As a Mom of 2 loving, wonderful daughters I must tell you I understand & can (somewhat) empathize. We had a VERY similar situation with Alyssa in high school. I have absolutely NO idea how you gathered the strength & control to withhold your desire to unleash your inner “Momma Bear” on coach M but I imagine it had everything to do with who was asking. ;). I’ve only known you to be a kind, loving, happy, smart, ethical friend. I’ve recently learned that when I’m exposed to the opposite of what I know to be “right & just” I learn a huge ‘lesson’ (not to sound harsh, I just don’t know a synonym) of which our Father is helping or allowing.. At times, like these, I’ve come out closer to, & a bit more peaceful with, our precious Lord. With that said, I find what that “coach” did to Drew despicable!! Moments such as those are ‘once-in-a-lifetimer’s!!!’ How could a person allow themself the honor or coaching when they are that far off-balance is beyond me?! Now that some time has passed, Alison, has anything new come of this? For you? Drew? The school with relation to new staff? We’re you able to confront Coach M ever? Bless you all for enduring this experience & being the ‘bigger person/people!’ Much love!


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