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"Go Green Death!"
March 31, 2009 1:38 PM   Subscribe

Girls Soccer Coach Resigns over hilarious (insane?) email to parents "Some say soccer at this age is about fun and I completely agree. However, I believe winning is fun and losing is for losers. Ergo, we will strive for the “W” in each game. While we may not win every game (excuse me, I just got a little nauseated) I expect us to fight for every loose ball and play every shift as if it were the finals of the World Cup. While I spent a good Saturday morning listening to the legal liability BS, which included a 30 minute dissertation on how we need to baby the kids and especially the refs, I was disgusted. The kids will run, they will fall, get bumps, bruises and even bleed a little. Big deal, it’s good for them (but I do hope the other team is the one bleeding)."
posted by njbradburn (221 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
You should try to win, but claim market conditions prevent you from winning without a significant investment from the Treasury.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 1:40 PM on March 31, 2009 [19 favorites]


I wonder how many beers at TKO'Malleys were consumed prior to the writing of this one.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 1:41 PM on March 31, 2009


I really like that his resignation email still ended "GO GREEN DEATH!"
posted by ocherdraco at 1:44 PM on March 31, 2009 [5 favorites]


Girls Soccer Coach blowhard Resigns over hilarious (insane?) self-important, long winded email diatribe to parents

FTFY
posted by ornate insect at 1:44 PM on March 31, 2009 [2 favorites]


Whether he meant any of it isn't relevant. It's that he didn't have the brain capacity to think that, perhaps, such language wouldn't be seen as a joke by the parents of 7-year-olds.
posted by Thorzdad at 1:45 PM on March 31, 2009 [2 favorites]


Another lesson in email not always coming across the way you intended.
posted by Big_B at 1:45 PM on March 31, 2009 [5 favorites]


fail
posted by killdevil at 1:46 PM on March 31, 2009


My heckling of the refs is actually helping them develop as people.

Not in the way you think, coach.
posted by davebush at 1:47 PM on March 31, 2009


Wow. I was running a little bet with myself about the age of the girls involved before clicking on the link. I settled on 11 as the over/under and I took the over. I won't ruin it for anyone who wants to play along, but I'll just say that I'm not going to be hired in Vegas anytime soon.

The email itself strikes me as "Kidding on the Square" -- in which a person can feel safe saying offensive or unpopular things that they truly believe by framing it as humor. I can envision a funny "over-aggressive coach" email, but this ain't it. Combined with the fact that one of the league refs refused to come back this year due to this coach's behavior, this guy sounds like a real ass.

That said, I thoroughly endorse the idea of naming a soccer team Green Death.
posted by Rock Steady at 1:47 PM on March 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


This guy sounds like an awesome coach and a great human being. Let kids be kids, let them appreciate winning after trying hard, and add a little humor to it all.

Fuck 'em if they can't take a joke. Scituate Soccer doesn't deserve him.
posted by bondcliff at 1:47 PM on March 31, 2009 [42 favorites]


...and while blood doping and HGH use is frowned upon, there is no testing policy.

Bloody brilliant.
posted by educatedslacker at 1:47 PM on March 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


I think the email was fully funny. However I think this coach forgot that there are a lot of individuals in the world with no/different sense(s) of humor who were trusting him to look after their young daughters. Good joke, wrong platform.
posted by gagglezoomer at 1:50 PM on March 31, 2009


Don't read the comments on the article if you want to retain your positive view of humanity, by the way.
posted by Rock Steady at 1:50 PM on March 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


The Patriot Ledger! I used to deliver that paper! It sucks! Woohoo!
posted by R. Mutt at 1:50 PM on March 31, 2009 [10 favorites]


Go Career Death!
posted by PeterMcDermott at 1:52 PM on March 31, 2009 [4 favorites]


“The political correctness police are not welcome on my sidelines,” he added

Why do idiots always use that phrase?
posted by nola at 1:53 PM on March 31, 2009 [33 favorites]


sweat-xedo-wearing yuppies

What is xedo?
posted by desjardins at 1:55 PM on March 31, 2009


From the apology email:

I wrote it, I think it's funny and I do have a distaste for the tediousness of overbearing political correctness.

Uh-huh. Maybe he can get a spot on that Fox overnight comedy show.
posted by GuyZero at 1:56 PM on March 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


sweat-xedo-wearing yuppies
What is xedo?


I think it's a portmanteau of sweatsuit and tuxedo; I'm picturing those heinous velour tracksuits.
posted by specialagentwebb at 1:59 PM on March 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


Seven-year-olds? Reading that e-mail I was expecting at least high school age. But when you're in the single digits, aren't sports supposed to be more about having a good time with your friends, and afterwards, juice? At seven, you still have another five to ten years before your coach is stepping on your back while you do push-ups, and calling you a gutless worm. Ah, badminton, how I miss you.

So it seems his 1000-word e-mail was all in jest. I think if the parents knew this coach to be a fun-loving, pal-around sorta guy, they might have understand the e-mail to be a joke. The fact that they didn't means they already thought the guy was a little gung-ho, and this "hilarious" e-mail confirmed it.

On the other hand, maybe they didn't know him at all, and their introduction to him was this long, rambling e-mail which segues clumsily from talking about shin guards and hairpins into the R. Lee Emery bit.

And I do think it's pretty telling that he railed against the Political Correctness boogieman both in the initial e-mail, and in his resignation. You see, you're the one without a sense of humor.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 1:59 PM on March 31, 2009 [14 favorites]


“The political correctness police are not welcome on my sidelines,” he added

Why do idiots always use that phrase?


Because it's easier to think of yourself as an iconoclast than to admit you made a mistake.
posted by turaho at 1:59 PM on March 31, 2009 [21 favorites]


Sweat-(tu)xedo is a posh sweatsuit/tracksuit outfit, the uniform of the sporty yuppy soccermom, I presume.
posted by CKmtl at 2:00 PM on March 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


That's too bad. I thought it was funny and obviously a joke. I sort of think, yeah, he would have saved himself trouble if he assumed some people would have no sense of humor. But more than that I think, This is why we can't have nice things.
posted by Nattie at 2:00 PM on March 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


It's that he didn't have the brain capacity to think that, perhaps, such language wouldn't be seen as a joke by the parents of 7-year-olds.

This. As an experienced youth soccer coach he ought to have known that suburban soccer moms (and dads) are totally humorless when it comes to their kids.
posted by dersins at 2:01 PM on March 31, 2009 [7 favorites]


Go Green Death!
Death to teams 1 to 6!
posted by caddis at 2:01 PM on March 31, 2009 [5 favorites]


Go banana!
posted by fleetmouse at 2:01 PM on March 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


What is xedo?

Blackwater (TM) Speedo?
posted by joe lisboa at 2:02 PM on March 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


dig in corners like a Michael Vick pit bull.

You can't hide real class.
posted by jbickers at 2:03 PM on March 31, 2009 [3 favorites]


Touch it, feel it, Green hell!
posted by jester69 at 2:03 PM on March 31, 2009 [5 favorites]


This. As an experienced youth soccer coach he ought to have known that suburban soccer moms (and dads) are totally humorless when it comes to their kids.

I was going to disagree with this, but on a moment's reflection... yeah, mostly. Plus, maybe he can save it for the bar or his buddies. I don't expect much of a coach for a team of 7 year-olds except for professionalism which is the one thing this guy lacks.
posted by GuyZero at 2:04 PM on March 31, 2009


OK, because a Google search for xedo was damned confusing.
posted by desjardins at 2:04 PM on March 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


Ah, somebody's been modeling themselves on Coach McGuirk (YouTube).
posted by jeffkramer at 2:05 PM on March 31, 2009 [13 favorites]


desjardins, a [tu]xedo. Add "xedo" to an article of clothing to really swank it up. Like this
posted by njbradburn at 2:05 PM on March 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


Lastly, we are all cognizant of the soft bigotry that expects women and especially little girls, to be dainty and submissive; I wholeheartedly reject such drivel. My overarching goal is develop ladies who are confident and fearless, who will stand up for their beliefs and challenge the status quo. Girls who will kick ass and take names on the field, off the field and throughout their lives. I want these girls to be winners in the game of life. Who’s with me?

Dumb jokes aside this coach sounds pretty awesome.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 2:05 PM on March 31, 2009 [33 favorites]


If I had a daughter, I would want the guy who wrote this to be coaching her:

Lastly, we are all cognizant of the soft bigotry that expects women and especially little girls, to be dainty and submissive; I wholeheartedly reject such drivel. My overarching goal is develop ladies who are confident and fearless, who will stand up for their beliefs and challenge the status quo. Girls who will kick ass and take names on the field, off the field and throughout their lives. I want these girls to be winners in the game of life. Who’s with me?
posted by felix betachat at 2:06 PM on March 31, 2009 [16 favorites]


ha!
posted by felix betachat at 2:07 PM on March 31, 2009 [2 favorites]


Early runner for the Spirit of Bill Shankly Award '09.
posted by Abiezer at 2:08 PM on March 31, 2009 [2 favorites]


Well, he wasn't wrong about some humorless folks not quite getting it, and that helicopter parents might fret over the idea that their raised-to-be-winner-kids might suffer the agony of defeat, he only miscalculated the strength of their reaction.

Whether you want to call them "political correctness police" or "hand-wringing fun-assassins" is besides the point. Anyone incapable of pulling the basic message "we're going to try very hard but not take everything too seriously, and, by the way, your precious flowers are probably going to skin some knees playing soccer" out of the email falls into one or more categories:

1) Not a native speaker of the English language.
2) None too bright.
3) Political correctness police.
4) Hand-wringing fun-assassins.

"Protein shakes are encouraged, and while blood doping and HGH use is frowned upon, there is no testing policy" is cheerfully over the top. Yes, kids are Serious Business. However, the idea that "professionalism," for coaching soccer for tiny humans, no less, requires the sort of grim grinding over each and every possible misinterpretation necessary to avoid people flipping out like ninjas makes me think that the kinds of people who object are the kind of people who pore over each syllable looking for a chance to be potentially outraged. Those people are, yes, often referred to as the political correctness police, agents of thought control, whatever.

And if he's forced to resign over it, I guess we've got experimental evidence for their existence, don't we?
posted by adipocere at 2:11 PM on March 31, 2009 [31 favorites]


Dumb jokes aside this coach sounds pretty awesome.

Yeah, it's seldom that a person is all bad. I appreciate his attitude with regards to wanting to help shape these kids into assertive and confident adults. That's great and all, but this joke was pretty clumsily handled and bound to set off alarms with parents about what, exactly, he intends to put their kids through. They might have even already knew the guy to be a bit too intense for grade school kids.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 2:11 PM on March 31, 2009 [2 favorites]


Who’s with me?

* crickets *
posted by everichon at 2:11 PM on March 31, 2009 [4 favorites]


It was a pretty funny email, but if it had been my (hypothetical) 6-year-old daughter and I didn't know the coach well enough to separate joke from attitude, I might've been concerned -- except I liked the part at the end about "soft bigotry" and he might be an okay guy. It's hard to tell.

\begin{anecdote}
Youth sports are a minefield, frequently because of parents. My younger brother did little league for a while, and it was pretty bad. He was always on losing teams because my parents avoided the "winner" coaches -- at that level of little league, the fielding is generally so reliably inept that a coach who only cares about winning will have his kids steal bases at every opportunity -- it's a good way to get runs but it's cheap, like the baseball equivalent of griefing. Coaches would run up scores, parents would heckle opposing players and get in arguments with umpires, and it was generally a rough scene.
\end{anecdote}

This guy seems all right, but I've seen enough crazy parents in youth sports to be twice shy about such things -- and clearly I'm not the only one. I wouldn't want to answer to a mob of soccer parents any more than the board does. I don't think they had a choice.
posted by pts at 2:12 PM on March 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


Please, in FPPs, refrain from editorializ.... oh, ok, that's actually pretty accurate, never mind.

Sheesh, it sounds like this guy's inner Tyler Durden is sneaking out of him under the guise of satire.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 2:15 PM on March 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


His real sin was that it wasn't actually funny. It was like a Comedy Central Roast routine without the Lisa Lampanelli vag of black death jokes.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 2:17 PM on March 31, 2009 [5 favorites]


His reply email was pretty classy actually:

While I may question their sense of humor, I have no right to question their judgment regarding their children. Perhaps we may even have beer (I’ll buy) and a couple of laughs at the end of all of this.

Fuck being a coach this guy should have his own religion.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 2:19 PM on March 31, 2009 [19 favorites]


As an experienced youth soccer coach he ought to have known that suburban soccer moms (and dads) are totally humorless when it comes to their kids.

It's not just soccer. Go to any youth hockey game. The parents of the opposing teams' players are usually only a snippy comment or two away from murdering each other. When you're trying desperately to get your little overachiever into an Ivy League school, there's no time for silly things like enjoyment or character development.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:23 PM on March 31, 2009


Whether you want to call them "political correctness police" or "hand-wringing fun-assassins" is besides the point. Anyone incapable of pulling the basic message "we're going to try very hard but not take everything too seriously, and, by the way, your precious flowers are probably going to skin some knees playing soccer"...

So now the guy's martyr, a victim of "helicopter parents," a symbol of all that's wrong and humorless, what have you? Seems like an awfully thin reed to pin so much on.

My impression is that the guy thinks he's funnier than he is, thinks he was hired to write op-eds or do standup rather than coach seven year olds soccer, and is a little bit of a live wire. While I agree the coach probably meant well, I can't blame the parents for not being amused.
posted by ornate insect at 2:26 PM on March 31, 2009 [4 favorites]


Best that he resigned, because he's lousy at the communication part of coaching. Which is, oh yeah, the bulk of what 'coaching' is.

The parent of a 7-year-old is busy enough. This guy sent an insanely long email that's a lot more about how amused and pleased he is by his own personality than about the nuts and bolts of soccer practice and his coaching plan. In the first paragraph, he warns you to "stop here" if you're "easily offended." He calls the girls (7 year olds) "ladies." He goes into detail on his worldview, and then faults his readers for not perceiving the "satire."

This is like something Michael on The Office would write, complete with the tetchy explanation of what 'comedy' is. Satire backfires in the hands of the unskilled, and doesn't give you sufficient cover when you set out to offend.

It's familiar stuff. Someone this narcissistic, with this many axes to grind (and that short a fuse and that much inability to admit a fuckup) doesn't need to be around young children. Regardless of his sports skills or philosophy, this just shows that his judgment is lousy; he's tone-deaf and too self-involved to understand that his role here is one of service, and that he's not sent by God to youth soccer to pick political and personal battles with the parent community. I would be thoroughly irrititated at wasting my time with this adolescent crap if I had signed my daughter up for her first sports experience and ended up with this in my inbox. It may amuse some of us from a distance, but I can still spot a red flag when I see it. This reads like something written by a scary, chip-on-the-shoulder dude. I don't fault a single parent for saying "Thanks, but no access to my kid."
posted by Miko at 2:26 PM on March 31, 2009 [39 favorites]


Go to any youth hockey game. The parents of the opposing teams' players are usually only a snippy comment or two away from murdering each other.

Too late.
posted by educatedslacker at 2:26 PM on March 31, 2009


MetaFilter: Blue slushies are for winners!
posted by Mach5 at 2:26 PM on March 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


“The political correctness police are not welcome on my sidelines,” he added

Why do idiots always use that phrase?


Well, sometimes they say "Metafilter Thought Police".
posted by Horace Rumpole at 2:28 PM on March 31, 2009 [3 favorites]


Four of the five most miserable summers of my life were when my mom forced me to play tee ball and little league, and it was mostly because of assholes like this and the shithead kids under their sway.

The fifth most miserable summer of my life was when I had a job running the medical waste incinerator at a small town hospital.
posted by vibrotronica at 2:29 PM on March 31, 2009 [6 favorites]


In my experience with girl's sports, the kids who play the way this letter suggests to play are the ones that eventually get on club teams, and hence make their high school teams. Girl's soccer is VERY cutthroat, and I am not exaggerating that by 7, the die is cast, socially, and within whatever sports community that is around, whether a girl will "make it" or sit on the bench until she gets frustrated and/or loses interest.

Ugly stuff.
posted by Danf at 2:31 PM on March 31, 2009


Add "xedo" to an article of clothing to really swank it up.

So one penguin at the Antarctic Gym said to another penguin, "Say, did you ever notice it looks like we're wearing sweat-xedos?" And the other penguin replied, "How do you know I'm not?"

(Garrison Keilior cashes a royalty check, Virginia Madsen drives off a cliff.)
posted by JHarris at 2:33 PM on March 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


Yeah, in my experience coaching (and reffing) youth soccer and Little League, I've come to realize that you have to be very careful how you communicate with parents and kids. Not everyone was raised on Saturday Night Live and Letterman and Will Ferrell movies. Innuendo and sarcasm can go right past people or get taken the wrong way, and then you've got some 'splainin to do.
posted by stargell at 2:33 PM on March 31, 2009


Funny e-mail. Classy resignation letter.
posted by ericb at 2:33 PM on March 31, 2009


What's surprising to me is that this even became an issue...

That might sound funny, but only if you've never spent any time in Scituate.
posted by rollbiz at 2:34 PM on March 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


This reads like something written by a scary, chip-on-the-shoulder dude.

Wow, that is some serious armchair psycho-analyzing.
posted by smackfu at 2:34 PM on March 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


(Please don't analyze my MeFi posts.)

(That was a joke.)
posted by smackfu at 2:35 PM on March 31, 2009


Not everyone was raised on Saturday Night Live and Letterman and Will Ferrell movies.

Or maybe, just maybe, not every parent is looking for wacky sketch-comedy shtick form their kids' coaches.
posted by ornate insect at 2:35 PM on March 31, 2009 [2 favorites]


Why are blue slushies for winners? Is that some inside sports thing, or does he just mean blue slushies like you procure at the quickie-mart?

I do enjoy an occasional blue slushie, and it would be sweet if I turned out to be a winner.
posted by everichon at 2:36 PM on March 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


Masshole? Masshole!
posted by vrakatar at 2:36 PM on March 31, 2009


Anyone who doesn't get that this guy was joking in a pretty hilarious way I'm going to break into your house tonight and eat your pets.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 2:37 PM on March 31, 2009 [13 favorites]


Anyone who doesn't get that this guy was joking in a pretty hilarious way I'm going to break into your house tonight and eat your pets.

Anyone who doesn't get that not all parents want Sam Kinison coaching their kids....oh never mind.
posted by ornate insect at 2:39 PM on March 31, 2009 [3 favorites]


I'm going to break into your house tonight and eat fuck your pets.

Even funnier!

What, you don't appreciate my jokes? Humorless PC yuppie!
posted by Miko at 2:41 PM on March 31, 2009 [3 favorites]


Park said a 12-year-old referee refused to return this year because of the way Kinahan treated her last year.
Not only are the referees only 12 years old, but the coach actively heckles them?
posted by deanc at 2:43 PM on March 31, 2009 [2 favorites]


Eating or fucking the pets of MeFites will almost certainly earn you at least a time out, folks.
posted by everichon at 2:43 PM on March 31, 2009 [2 favorites]


In related news: Are we raising ‘diva generation’?
posted by ericb at 2:44 PM on March 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


As some of you may have heard me rant about in the past, I used to be a sportswriter. And before I earned a spot covering all the major pro leagues and colleges in Southern California, I did my time covering high school sports. Everyone does it. A rite of passage, if you will.

So, I'm on the sidelines at a girls soccer playoff match in the late 80s. One of the fathers is just going OFF on everyone. He's yelling at his daughter's team. He's yelling at the opponents. He's yelling at the ref. No profanity, so he thinks whatever he's yelling is just A-OK, character-building shit. And. He. Just. Won't. Stop.

About 30 minutes in, the action of the game shifts to toward a goal, and he turns and is yelling. From behind him, away from the action, one of the girls from his team takes the opportunity to sprint off the field, right past me, and just BELTS this guy square in the chest with a picture-perfect right cross. I mean, just fucking lays him out, because she's running full speed. Then she stands over him, like Muhammad Ali yelling at unconscious Sonny Liston.

"DAD! KNOCK IT OFF! YOU'RE EMBARRASSING ME!"

And she runs back onto the field.

Awesome. One of the greatest single things I've ever seen anywhere.

This coach? Yelling at 12-year-olds and then joking about it? Fuck this guy. He's embarrassing everyone.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 2:47 PM on March 31, 2009 [121 favorites]


"Kinahan told the Herald last night his letter was a mix of 'suburban satire' and a challenge to compete.

'I stand by my comments. This isn’t two hours of free babysitting,' Kinahan said."
posted by ericb at 2:48 PM on March 31, 2009


My kid plays little league sports -- I would like to see a middle ground between

"Everyone's a winner! Here's a trophy for hauling in $150.00 from your folks!"

and

player: "Coach! I broke my ankle!"
coach: "Walk it off, sissy!"

This isn't it.
posted by Devils Rancher at 2:49 PM on March 31, 2009 [4 favorites]


I'm thinking that maybe the reason the parents reacted the way that they did was that they actually know the guy and realized that he wasn't really joking.
posted by craichead at 2:50 PM on March 31, 2009 [4 favorites]


Quite funny, here and there. It's a shame he had to resign over this. I mean, it's just a joke, even if you think it's a bad one. Personally, I could do with a lot more of this sort of relaxed, humorous attitude in society, and I wish the concerned parents had maturity to speak with him directly about his e-mail instead of complaining to league officials. It's not like they didn't have his e-mail or phone number.
posted by millions at 2:50 PM on March 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


Excellent letter of resignation, btw.
posted by millions at 2:51 PM on March 31, 2009


I'd have to think that parents met the guy in real life for a while, especially if they're 'copter parents, so hopefully some of his humor came across in person prior to the email. Regardless, I like the last paragraph from the first email:
Lastly, we are all cognizant of the soft bigotry that expects women and especially little girls, to be dainty and submissive; I wholeheartedly reject such drivel. My overarching goal is develop ladies who are confident and fearless, who will stand up for their beliefs and challenge the status quo. Girls who will kick ass and take names on the field, off the field and throughout their lives. I want these girls to be winners in the game of life. Who’s with me?
Maybe he should look to be a girls rugby coach next. I think this might go over better there.
posted by filthy light thief at 2:51 PM on March 31, 2009


From Wicked Local:
"I am a parent whose child was coached by Mr. Kinahan last yr.

Lets all take a deep breath here. For those that dont recognize the humor in his email, you are certainly missing the mark and over reacting (agreed that this dry sense of humor is not appreciated by everyone).

Firstly, this is an email that went to the parents - not the children. Although this is the first introduction to the coach (and done by email and where body language, tone of voice, and humor are lost in words as most emails are), one only has to go to a game to see he really does care and motivates the team with a great sense of comradery - more so than many other teams across all sports I have watched over the years. Granted coaches have different sytles in doing so but this seemed to hit the mark last year with all the parents supporting the team and cheering our little girls.

Shame on you parents who brought this to the board without giving him a chance to go to a practice and/or talk to parents such as me. Many of you take for granted the sacrifice we coaches make, (I have volunteered for 10 years now), all unpaid and have to listen to parents gripe and moan about their children to us. To those of you, I implore you to get up and volunteer and not criticize those that do.

If ever once he would have stepped over the line, as a coach and parent, I would have been the first to react. That also stands true for the harrassment of any other player or referee for that matter. All that was said was in good fun and not meant to hurt. If it did it was not intended nor meant that way.

For those of you that expresses an opinion here today, save it unless you know him. It is unfair and not right what you and some parents of scituate have placed judgement on without knowing the whole story.

Do you see any of the parents from last year protesting, blogging, contacting the board or media? I havent seen anything but maybe I am not in the flow. If I am correct, doesn’t that tell you something?

If you have an editorial in the scituate mariner, please feel free to post this along with his resignation letter which, amazingly, he took the higher road."
posted by ericb at 2:53 PM on March 31, 2009 [6 favorites]


relaxed, humorous attitude

Except it's hard to tell if that's really the attitude the guy has, or if he's a bit of a passive-aggressive nut. I think this particular kind of job attracts its share of weirdos, and the priority of some parents is just to have someone coaching who is ordinary, dependable, and has no axe to grind.

This isn’t two hours of free babysitting

Actually, that is at least part of what it is, and there's nothing wrong with that. To think otherwise is just to be deluded about what the job is.
posted by ornate insect at 2:58 PM on March 31, 2009


Many years ago, Father Beese - may he rest in peace - was commissioner of the local kid's soccer league. At the awards banquet at the end of the season, he gave out the Sportsmanship Award to the team who had gotten highest marks from the coaches they had played against. He presented it last - after the league championshp trophy - to emphasize that it was the more prestigious achievement.

You tell 'em, Dad.
posted by Joe Beese at 2:59 PM on March 31, 2009 [7 favorites]


We should try to get that Dean of St Paul's Cathedral in London fired too- he wants us to solve the Irish problem through eating babies!
posted by jenkinsEar at 2:59 PM on March 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


Papa, that's one of the best sports-related stories I've heard.
posted by Pope Guilty at 3:01 PM on March 31, 2009


"League registrar Chris Park told the Patriot Ledger of Quincy that some parents understood the tone of the e-mail. Others did not, and complained. Park says Kinahan has a 'wry, sarcastic' sense of humor..."*
"Spectacular.... too bad these girls will have their coach replaced by some Starbucks sipping, Land Rover driving parent with no love and/or knowledge of the game. But on the bright side, everyone will get a trophy and there will be oranges for all during timeouts. I'd let my daughter play for this man in a heartbeat."*
posted by ericb at 3:03 PM on March 31, 2009


ericb: the supportive letter is from another coach, perhaps we are seeing a bit of the black-and-blue wall here?
posted by jester69 at 3:04 PM on March 31, 2009


I will only acknowledge “Nadene” for scheduling and disciplinary purposes.
posted by njbradburn at 3:05 PM on March 31, 2009


Signed Stalin.
posted by rageagainsttherobots at 3:05 PM on March 31, 2009


We should try to get that Dean of St Paul's Cathedral in London fired too- he wants us to solve the Irish problem through eating babies!
For the avoidance of doubt, the email was largely (albeit not completely) meant in jest Get that? It was not completely meant in jest. He's sort of serious. So the question is how sort of serious he is. And I don't think it's out of the question that he's sort of serious enough for it to be a problem.

We're not talking about high school kids here. These are seven-year-olds. And maybe I'm just one of those newfangled kiddie-coddling nutsos, but I think the point of sports for *seven year olds* should be to have fun. A child who does not yet know her multiplication tables isn't someone who needs to be initiated into the ethos of win at any cost. Sorry. And before you give me any of that "generation of special snowflakes" crap, I'd just point out that organized sports for seven-year-olds didn't even exist until a couple of generations ago, so spare me.
posted by craichead at 3:07 PM on March 31, 2009 [5 favorites]


it is imperative that we all fight the good fight, get involved now and resist the urge to become sweat-xedo-wearing yuppies who sit on the sidelines in their LL Bean chairs sipping mocha-latte-half-caf-chinos while discussing reality TV and home decorating with other feeble-minded folks

(spit-takes coffee on LL Bean chair) - Hey, I resent that!
posted by anthill at 3:10 PM on March 31, 2009 [2 favorites]


Aargh, formating fail.

So here's my point. Swift wasn't sort of endorsing the view he was satirizing. He thought the view he was satirizing was utterly crap. The guy here said that his email was "largely (albeit not completely) meant in jest." He's not satirizing, really. He's exaggerating for a laugh, but he's not really making fun of the view that he was expressing. And it's an open question, I think, how much his email was meant in jest and how much it was meant seriously.
posted by craichead at 3:11 PM on March 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


I know a former coach, and what she told me was very interesting:

It's to the point now where you don't choose your players, you choose your parents. In other words, for the people picking who to cut, they're becoming less interested in winning and losing and more interested in not dealing with crazy yuppie shit.
posted by effugas at 3:12 PM on March 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


We're not talking about high school kids here. These are seven-year-olds.

When do they start nowadays?
posted by smackfu at 3:16 PM on March 31, 2009


I have a soccer-playing son about this age, and if his coach sent me that letter, I would've laughed my ass off. It was obviously over-the-top humor. And his resignation cements my impression of him as a basically OK guy. Some people truly do lack a sense of humor.

(That said, yelling at 12-year-old refs is not cool, if it happened.)
posted by bashos_frog at 3:21 PM on March 31, 2009


Congratulations on being selected for the MetaFilter Cabal* Freshmyn Snark Squad! My name is Xenu47 and I have been fortunate enough to be selected to coach what I know will be a wonderful group of passive aggressive young trolls. Xenu24 will also be coaching and I expect the ever popular Xenu13 to offer drive-by set-up snark on a will-call basis. Our first game will be Saturday April 4 at 10:00AM. There will be a half hour of 1-off, bait the librul drills, followed by a 1 hour game of full-contact LOL X-TIANS, so total time will be 1.5 hours. All games will be played on the Blue. Each player will be required to use at least one sock-puppet and more are recommended but not required. A MeMail SPAMBOT will be provided to each player at the first meeting, and each player should bring the MeMail SPAMBOT to games and practices. There is no set practice time allotted, but I will convene with the coaches to determine the best time and place. If there are cancellations due to J-RUN, all notices will be posted via the MeFi Status Blog. Attached is the Schedule and Code of Conduct.

OK, here’s the real deal:

The only rule is there are no rules. Coffee is for closers. You keep what you kill. Then you eat it, skullfuck the bones, and shit out the remains to fertilize the ground for the next generation of sheeple to graze from. My heckling of the mods is actually helping to tenderize their valuable flesh. The political correctness police are always welcome on my BBQ.

Lastly, we are all cognizant of the soft bigotry that expects women to be dainty and submissive; I wholeheartedly reject such drivel. My overarching goal is develop MeFights who are confident and fearless, who will stand up for their beliefs and challenge the status quo. MeFights who will then turn their strength against their fellow Metizens and extract a terrible, terrible price for their foolish trust. I want these MeFights to be bloodthirsty dominatrix psycho killers in a game of Candyland. Who's with me?

Go Cabal!*

*There is no cabal.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:22 PM on March 31, 2009 [27 favorites]


We should try to get that Dean of St Paul's Cathedral in London fired too- he wants us to solve the Irish problem through eating babies!

Yes, very few people realize that A Modest Proposal was originally sent out as a welcome letter to incoming freshmen.
posted by turaho at 3:22 PM on March 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


If anything I thought the letter should have been even more over the top. As it is, it has its moments, but is not consistently funny nor outlandish enough. Ultimately his inability (or refusal) to truly commit to to the persona, did him in.
posted by oddman at 3:25 PM on March 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


The only conclusion I can reach is that Mr ex-coach was not sufficiently cognisant of the fact that his spiel would sail past a bunch of his audience. That doesn't make him creepy or narcissistic or dangerous. That just means he's both a bit tone deaf and trigger happy with the email send button. Sure, sure, these are 7 year olds and one ought to project some level of respectful care in this sort of situation, but who hasn't hit send or post, thinking that their message would be taken in a particular way, only to find out afterwards that the impact was different than expected for some readers? But I don't know that going overboard with the conclusions about this guy is warranted; at worst I think he's just been a bit of a dickhead.
posted by peacay at 3:25 PM on March 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


When do they start nowadays?
I know of a place in my town that offers soccer "classes" for eighteen-month-olds, although I suspect they don't actually do anything that the rest of us would recognize as soccer. They don't actually play games until they're three.
posted by craichead at 3:27 PM on March 31, 2009


*There is no cabal.

Oh yes there is.
posted by oddman at 3:27 PM on March 31, 2009


Our first game will be Saturday April 4 at 10:00AM.

Games will also be broadcast on Pay-Per-View cabal for $20, same as in town.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:29 PM on March 31, 2009


"In my experience with girl's sports, the kids who play the way this letter suggests to play are the ones that eventually get on club teams, and hence make their high school teams. Girl's soccer is VERY cutthroat, and I am not exaggerating that by 7, the die is cast, socially, and within whatever sports community that is around, whether a girl will "make it" or sit on the bench until she gets frustrated and/or loses interest."

Thank God that soccer only matters every four years, when the women go to the Olympics.
posted by klangklangston at 3:29 PM on March 31, 2009


"...relaxed, humorous attitude..."

Except it's hard to tell if that's really the attitude the guy has, or if he's a bit of a passive-aggressive nut.


I disagree. I think it's very obvious that he's joking. He wrote about things like 7-year-olds blood-doping and taking HGH, and the team being a family (cult!) the little girls must belong to forever--it would be pretty ridiculous to take anything he wrote after the first paragraph too seriously. Certainly his resignation letter shows that he's not a passive-aggressive nut, just a funny guy who made the mistake of thinking it was okay to add a little unexpected levity to a routine letter.

Of course, not everyone gets satire/humor and that's okay, but I think the right way to handle this sort of thing in that case is to talk to the coach, not to try and get him dismissed by going directly to league officials.
posted by millions at 3:31 PM on March 31, 2009


And it's an open question, I think, how much his email was meant in jest and how much it was meant seriously.

I would hope that he at least meant that his team was going to try to win, and that he expected the parents to show some spirit. Competition and striving are sort of the point of sports, and even I, who don't really enjoy organized sports can see that. My wife wants my son to play, my son enjoys it, and all of us realize the game would be pretty boring and pointless without a score.

You don't even need a coach, if all you're gonna do is kick the ball back and forth for a while.

BTW, my son's coach plays to win, but also congratulates opposing team players on good plays, respects the rules preventing running up the score, and encourages good sportsmanship.
posted by bashos_frog at 3:32 PM on March 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


This isn’t two hours of free babysitting

Actually, that is at least part of what it is, and there's nothing wrong with that. To think otherwise is just to be deluded about what the job is.


Agreed, except if your kids have ever been in sports, the "free" part is way off the mark. Money for trophies, money for uniforms, end of the season party...it all adds up.

My husband coached for years, and he was an unpaid volunteer since we were in rec soccer (comp coaches get paid, but that doesn't start until about age 9). I love the protein shake and doping remarks and the lines about building confidence in young girls from the FPP, but at 7, yeah, he is not only way over the line but rushing things.

The FIRST email from the coach should be more like this:

Hi, I'm coach so-and-so. Let me introduce myself: credentials blah blah blah.

I'm excited insert-your-kid's-name-here is on my team this year, and I know we'll do great things this season!

We have soccer practice at 6 on Tuesdays and Thursdays at Blah field. I look forward to seeing you there. Please remember that attendance at practice is mandatory if insert-kid's-name-here wants to play in that week's game.

Insert-kid's-name-here will need to wear regulation soccer shoes with cleats and shin pads to practice (this is a league requirement). Please make sure insert-kid's-name-here also has a water bottle and his/her own soccer ball (we use a size 3 for this age group).

See you Tuesday!

Coach So-and-So.


Insert-kid's-name-here will still show up a half-hour late, of course, if they show up at all, and without a soccer ball or a water bottle, wearing baseball cleats.

And Mom and Dad will do a drive-by and leave before you can talk to them.

And of COURSE they will want their kid to start every single game.

So I can't blame this coach for trying to inject a little humor.

Next time, he should wait until the *second* practice, though.
posted by misha at 3:33 PM on March 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


I've coached youth soccer for my sons over the past 6 years or so. I've learned that it's best to avoid the parents as much as possible, and let my wife deal with them, and for one simple reason: you can't make the parents run to the fence and back (TWICE!) when they consistently act like asshats.
posted by Brocktoon at 3:36 PM on March 31, 2009 [4 favorites]


ericb: the supportive letter is from another coach, perhaps we are seeing a bit of the black-and-blue wall here?

Perhaps we -- and others on the Intrawebs -- are (pre-)judging this man on words (misconstrued or not) in an e-mail and not on his actions in coaching a team of young girls.
posted by ericb at 3:36 PM on March 31, 2009


I think it's very obvious that he's joking.

But it's not obvious to me that his joking is masking some deeper weirdness, and that he's just "half joking," as someone noted upthread. More problematic either way is that he felt compelled to send something half-baked and long-winded. Should some parents have given him the benefit of the doubt? Probably, but on the other hand if one is a parent all one wants form a coach of one's 7 year old is someone who just does the job without a lot of fuss. I agree he probably meant no harm, but I certainly don't blame parents for thinking otherwise.
posted by ornate insect at 3:36 PM on March 31, 2009 [2 favorites]


I've learned that it's best to avoid the parents as much as possible, and let my wife deal with them, and for one simple reason: you can't make the parents run to the fence and back (TWICE!) when they consistently act like asshats.

You should, though. Make it a team rule up front that interfering parents have to run laps.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:40 PM on March 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


On the one hand, this coach is clearly a batshit O'Reillyish tool. On the other, nobody is more deserving of this guy's tender mercies than the utterly humorless helicopter parents of 7-year-old soccer-playing snowflakes -- unless it's the 'flakes themselves. It's the perfect storm of unlikable people!
posted by FelliniBlank at 3:40 PM on March 31, 2009


Metafilter: masking some deeper weirdness.

But seriously: "he felt compelled to send something half-baked and long-winded". He felt compelled in the same way that a very large number of of MeFites "feel compelled"?

The mail was mildly amusing, could have been much better, was nothing to get upset about.
posted by Dumsnill at 3:41 PM on March 31, 2009


In general, when communicating with people in a professional context for the first time, its a prudent idea to avoid using humor. Stick to basic facts and basic information. Indeed, this is generally a wise thing to do with any professional correspondence. Use the words you need to use to communicate the information clearly and succinctly.

If I were to rewrite his email, I'd write something like:

Dear Parents,

Welcome to our soccer league. My name is [] and I'm your daughters' volunteer coach for this season.

Practices are on these days, games are on these days.

My philosophy is that even young athletes should learn how to play the game at the highest level that they can. This will benefit them later in life as both athletes and as human beings. I think its especially important that young ladies learn that they can compete with as much skill and confidence as young men. My goal is that they will be able to end this season having had a lot of fun, but also with some valuable athletic and life skills.

Soccer is a physical game and there may be some scrapes and bruises over the season. Even if the kids were just playing for fun, there would likely be some scrapes and bruises. I will do everything in my power to teach your daughters to play the game in a way that is appropriately aggressive but as safe as possible.

One of the tools I use to motivate my players is humor. I recognize that not everyone has the same sense of humor as I do, so if you overhear me saying something on the field and am not sure if I'm joking or not, please ask.

You are welcome at all practices and games. I also welcome your feedback. However, I need to be focused on all of children under my watch during practice and games. In the interest of allowing me to keep an eye on the team when they are my responsibility, I ask that you wait until after a game or practice to give me that feedback.

Yours, etc. etc.

PS - I will come to your house and fuck your pets

---

Last line aside, what the coach seems to be actually objecting to here isn't that people are being PC, but that they are demanding a level of professionalism from him in his communication. He does seem like he could potentially be an awesome guy (or potentially be a major asshole) but his communication skills need some serious work. Unless we're saying that "being a good communicator = being PC," there's nothing especially PC about that.
posted by Joey Michaels at 3:43 PM on March 31, 2009 [8 favorites]


If the insane are all that hilarious, why do we keep them on medication?
posted by Smedleyman at 3:43 PM on March 31, 2009 [4 favorites]


[Anyone who disagrees with me is]

1) Not a native speaker of the English language.
2) None too bright.
3) Political correctness police.
4) Hand-wringing fun-assassins.


What about
5) Likes kids.
?

Do you really think that teaching 7-year olds that hyperaggression and screaming at volunteers who are doing their jobs is a good thing? What ever happened to "play hard, but play fair"?

There are very few other countries in the world where this sort of attitude would be even vaguely acceptable. But then Americans would far rather teach their kids sports over art or music, and would far rather kill other people's kids than educate their own.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 3:48 PM on March 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


My Buddy Chris will think this is the greatest comment ever:

"At seven, you still have another five to ten years before your coach is stepping on your back while you do push-ups, and calling you a gutless worm. Ah, badminton, how I miss you."

I literally teared up laughing so hard at this; thank-you for the small light this has brought me.
posted by NiteMayr at 3:51 PM on March 31, 2009


There are very few other countries in the world where this sort of attitude would be even vaguely acceptable.

Really? I don't think I believe you.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:52 PM on March 31, 2009


Dumb jokes aside this coach sounds pretty awesome.

Mm, there's a difference between "teach girls to be assertive" and "FIRE THEM UP SO THEY KICK ASSES! RRRAAWWWRRR!" It's well and good to teach girls to be assertive atheletes. However, he should also be teaching CHILDREN to be GOOD SPORTS, and I don't think that forsaking the good sports part for the assertive girls part does the girls any service.

On a happy note, I can offer a depiction of REALLY AWESOME coaches -- if you get a chance, watch the documentary Small Ball, which tells the story of a Little-League team over the course of one season. The coaches all seemed dead-perfect -- just the right balance of pushing and encouraging, but not going over the top.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 3:53 PM on March 31, 2009


It was also meant as a satire of those who take youth sports too seriously for the wrong reasons.

It didn't work. It sounded a lot like someone who really did take youth sport seriously for the wrong reasons, jokes ha ha aside.

Try blogging, coach, or find some funny internet stuff to email to your relatives.
posted by cogneuro at 3:54 PM on March 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


"Do you really think that teaching 7-year olds that hyperaggression and screaming at volunteers who are doing their jobs is a good thing? What ever happened to "play hard, but play fair"?"

Did he say that he wanted them to play unfairly? The HGH and doping bit? That was a joke. And "hyperagression" and screaming at volunteers? Where, exactly, is that backed up?

There are very few other countries in the world where this sort of attitude would be even vaguely acceptable. But then Americans would far rather teach their kids sports over art or music, and would far rather kill other people's kids than educate their own."

Oh, I get it. All that bullshit was just the foreplay for an Amerikkka $ucks rant. Hey, guess what—in very few other countries are women's sports taken seriously enough to be competitive. But please, continue on with your lecture to the Morlocks, Eloi.
posted by klangklangston at 3:55 PM on March 31, 2009


My overarching goal is develop ladies who are confident and fearless, who will stand up for their beliefs and challenge the status quo. Girls who will kick ass and take names on the field, off the field and throughout their lives. I want these girls to be winners in the game of life. Who’s with me?

I enjoy the fact that it is probably women who already fit this description who had the balls to put the kibosh on the coach. Way to be an example of kicking ass and taking names off the field throughout your life It's actually much harder in real life than in sports.

It's hard to tell whether parents did try to reach this guy and talk to him. They might have; we don't know that. He didn't stand his ground, and the board, I guess, wasn't willing to back him up - something worth noting.

The charge of people who object not having a sense of humor is pretty lame, though. It's not that people don't get that the guy is joking. It's just that he's not completely joking, as he takes pains to make clear to the parents, and that he chose the wrong moment to joke. Also, for some people it just...fails to achieve funniness, fails to appeal to their sense of humor. Taste in humor is as personal as taste in food or music; that's why not everyone lines up to see the latest Judd Apatow or Jim Carrey release. This kind of humor isn't for everyone. And more importantly, this kind of humor is unwelcome in this context: initial email to total strangers. Plain and simple. Poor judgment.

Defend him for whatever reason you want, but the kerfuffle wasn't about whether people have a sense of humor. It was about where humor is appropriate, and what kind of humor, and how well a youth leader can make decisions about appropriate relationships with others. He might be a great guy, but...I don't think great guys actually act like that, and when great guys apologize, they apologize sincerely: not with the "I'm sorry you were offended" apology but with the "I'm sorry I misjudged and got this wrong" apology.
posted by Miko at 3:56 PM on March 31, 2009 [5 favorites]


There are very few other countries in the world where this sort of attitude would be even vaguely acceptable.

Don't people in other countries routinely beat and kill one another and commit destructive vandalism over soccer?
posted by Miko at 3:58 PM on March 31, 2009 [4 favorites]


I think the parents didn't think it was funny because they'd either seen him heckling the 12-year-old referees, as mentioned in the article (or heard the rumors that he had).

It's funny when Denis Leary says it. When a man you've seen yelling at 12-year-old girls says it, not so much.
posted by Sidhedevil at 3:58 PM on March 31, 2009 [2 favorites]


And a coach complaining about the "legal liability BS" would not be someone who I wanted coaching my goddaughters. I mean, these kids are 7. The liabilities involved in being the adult responsible for them are not "BS", nor is it some kind of horrible imposition to require that coaches be aware of them.

Not to mention the particular issues around coaching kids that young. They're 7. Their skulls are still all mushy in places. "Play hurt, McNally" is not really the way you want to go there.
posted by Sidhedevil at 4:02 PM on March 31, 2009 [3 favorites]


Don't people in other countries routinely beat and kill one another and commit destructive vandalism over soccer?

Yes, but afterwards they write highly lucid and engaging resignation letters with excellent penmanship. They just have better public education systems than we do.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:03 PM on March 31, 2009 [2 favorites]


Don't people in other countries routinely beat and kill one another and commit destructive vandalism over soccer?

No, they fucking well do not!!! They routinely beat and kill one another and commit destructive vandalism over football!!! What the fucking hell is "soccer"?!!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:07 PM on March 31, 2009 [19 favorites]


Yes, but afterwards they write highly lucid and engaging resignation letters with excellent penmanship. They just have better public education systems than we do.

True. But something tells me the average football hooligan skips class a whole bunch.
posted by tkchrist at 4:10 PM on March 31, 2009


Even if their hooligans skip as many classes as our hooligans, or even more, it's a proven fact that European hooligans still perform better in standardized testing than American hooligans.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:13 PM on March 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


Kicking & Screaming!
posted by ericb at 4:13 PM on March 31, 2009


Wooooo. 'The hooligans are loose! The hooligans are loose! ...What if they become roughians? I would hate to be a dustbin in Shafsbry tonight.
posted by Dumsnill at 4:17 PM on March 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


Who the hell writes long ass emails to the parents anyway, "professional" or otherwise?

Dear parents,

Practice is at 6:00 at Joe Blow Field on Wednesday. See you there.

The Coach

PS Please bring $5 for Pancake Breakfast tickets.
posted by Brocktoon at 4:18 PM on March 31, 2009 [3 favorites]


They routinely beat and kill one another and commit destructive vandalism over football!!!

Great Street Hooligans.

Hey, any relation to Green Death?
posted by ericb at 4:18 PM on March 31, 2009


Yeah, the only problem I have with this guy is that he thinks it's okay to heckle a 13-year-old ref. I mean, come on, pick on somebody your own size.

Outside of that, I can't think of anything bad to say about the guy. My god people (especially parents) are humorless these days.
posted by Afroblanco at 4:21 PM on March 31, 2009


But it's not obvious to me that his joking is masking some deeper weirdness, and that he's just "half joking," as someone noted upthread.

All the comments about how maybe he might, underneath his humor, be some sort of mentally unbalanced hothead who on some level honestly relishes traumatizing young referees and only cares about winning strike me as silly. It reminds me of the stories you hear about parents calling the cops when they find out someone let a child ride a train unattended, or reporting someone taking pictures of his kids playing in the park as a potential pervert (see also: anything with blinking LEDs might be an explosive device!). "You never know! Better safe than sorry!" I read these comments and in my head it's Nancy Grace writing all of them under various aliases.

More problematic either way is that he felt compelled to send something half-baked and long-winded. Should some parents have given him the benefit of the doubt? Probably, but on the other hand if one is a parent all one wants form a coach of one's 7 year old is someone who just does the job without a lot of fuss. I agree he probably meant no harm, but I certainly don't blame parents for thinking otherwise.

Well, for me what's too bad is that someone not taking themselves so seriously could be so problematic. From his resignation letter it's clear that he understands that parents might be concerned and he doesn't begrudge them their actions, but I say it's really a pity that this sort of misunderstanding can't be resolved via a three minute phone conversation and being mindful of the situation thereafter (the letter posted by ericb makes it pretty clear that complaints went directly to league officials). It's all very drastic and does nothing to protect children against the real weirdos who quite often hide under the cover of excruciating ordinariness.
posted by millions at 4:23 PM on March 31, 2009 [5 favorites]


This reminded me of those tv shows that I used to watch when I was little on Nickelodeon or on Saturday morning. Those ones where the show had this heightened reality where the kids and adults on the show were always doing extreme things (not usually the protagonists) but mainly off camera. A coach who really meant the things in this email would totally fit in on those shows, and because it's tv, he wouldn't be kicked out. The kids would suck it up, and win in the end.

I think that's the sort of vibe he was going for -- tongue in cheek, but also motivational, but I can see that it was sort of tacky to send out to the parents. As a parent, who has time to even read a 3 page email?

The email is awesome as a sentiment about coaching girls' soccer. But it fails at being an introductory organizational email. One line of humor in an email is ok, but this was long and inappropriate. Maybe over the course of the season, saying occasional funny things, he could work up to one paragraph, but 3 paragraphs was way too much.

I think he was probably a very caring, good coach. But part of coaching kids' sports is dealing with parents, and at that he sucked.
posted by bluefly at 4:24 PM on March 31, 2009


One of the problems with people who often complain about political correctness is that they don't get that communication takes two. It's always the other person who has no sense of humour (and if you suggest they might just have a different sense of humour, that's PC as well, right?) It's like when you throw a ball, and the other person just can't catch it. It may be the person is a lousy catcher - or, maybe you're not throwing it right.

But it's always Fuck them, they have no sense of humour. They're lousy catchers. Or worse, they're of course looking to be offended. Look at these motherfuckers, they're deliberately not catching my ball to fuck with me!

Not everyone has the same sense of humour. There isn't only one kind. We all (well most of us) know that we have to be careful with jokes when we're with our bosses and co-workers (and acquaintances too, no?) - until we've got to know them well. Otherwise yeah, like Miko said - you turn into Michael from the Office.

I read the emails, and see the funny exaggeration - I also see that they're far too borderline to be sure. (What, there are no nutty coaches?) If he is that subtle with his humour, he should also understand the subtleties in dealing with a huge variety of people with a wide range in sense of humour. If your satire is misunderstood by such a large number of your intended audience, it fails - it is not up to the audience to get it. It's up to you to communicate it.

And he claims it's "a mix of 'suburban satire' and a challenge to compete"? So which is it? If he said Oh, it's all satire - I get it. But you can't satirise something and at the same time say Oh, in there amongst the satire? I meant some of it too. To a reasonable degree obviously. Don't you see, your humourless, PC parents who are naturally protective of your kids?

And then this:

Scituate Youth Soccer board member Chris Park said the preseason letter may have been “tounge-in-cheek,” but saying he was going to challenge referees - some 12 years old - was inappropriate.

“It’s not a joke,” said Park. “He chewed out a 12-year-old so bad last year she said she won’t referee anymore.”

Park said the issue will come up at the next league meeting, but it’s gone far enough. “He’s over the top,” he added.


So, it's still the PC police?
posted by dolca at 4:25 PM on March 31, 2009 [10 favorites]


Great Street Hooligans.

Err...umm...meant *Green* Street Hooligans.
posted by ericb at 4:26 PM on March 31, 2009


I was wondering if the parents knew in advance the team was called "Green Death" . . looking at the email again I suppose they might not have, or that he made that name up on the spot, in the email.

What irks me about this is that the guy obviously had some fans and supporters. Seems like any individual parent might have said "huh, this guy's obnoxious sense of humor makes me kind of uncomfortable. I think I'll get Kate switched to team Four, or maybe team Six, which is coached by that nice older lady . . ." If a whole bunch of kids abandoned his team, that might be cause for the Board to send him on his way.

Doesn't look like that's what happened. It looks more like a few parents flipped out, called each other about it, circled their wagons, flexed some muscle and got this guy fired because he didn't adopt the proper reverential tone to be used when dealing with their precious little treasures, and they didn't want him in the same organization as their kids, much less on the same playfield.
posted by arcanecrowbar at 4:28 PM on March 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


I come from the generation that thought of it as a personal victory of coaching abilities when somebody on the other team leaves the field crying.

You know that scene in The Great Santini where Duvall is playing backyard hoops with his kid and they get into it — so he's bouncing the basket ball of his son's forehead saying "Go ahead. You gonna cry now? Squirt a few. C'mon candy-ass. Cry for daddy."

For years my siblings and I honestly thought that scene had been cribbed directly from our lives. This is no exaggeration. That's exactly what it was like when my old man "coached" us. At a family Christmas a couple years ago over a game of Risk my father asked why we were so insanely competitive and just couldn't play a game without killing each other. We reminded him of our shared childhood. Being old and preparing for death and recently discovering his kindly old-man nature he conveniently has no memory of this.

In short I am torn. Torn between my rather dysfunctional gut reflex to want those kids to toughen the fuck up and the trauma of knowing what losing the fun of playing sports can do to your charachter. Becuase, if it isn't already obvious, I am pretty fucked up by it.
posted by tkchrist at 4:28 PM on March 31, 2009 [3 favorites]


Regarding the length and verbosity of his e-mail, at least he warned them! ; )
"According to my wife, my emails get too wordy, so for those of you read [sic] too slowly, are easily offended, or are too busy, you can stop here. For the others……"
posted by ericb at 4:30 PM on March 31, 2009


someone not taking themselves so seriously could be so problematic

Perhaps, but maybe announcing that you're a rebel who thinks kids are being brought up as wimps strikes the wrong chord with some parents. I mean to open up one's inbox and find an unsolicited first-email from the guy that reads...

While I spent a good Saturday morning listening to the legal liability BS, which included a 30 minute dissertation on how we need to baby the kids and especially the refs, I was disgusted. The kids will run, they will fall, get bumps, bruises and even bleed a little. Big deal, it’s good for them

...might be a wee bit disconcerting.
posted by ornate insect at 4:30 PM on March 31, 2009


I would gladly let my child play soccer for this coach. I would never have been on my high school's varsity team if it weren't for coaches like this. My dad coached little league soccer and one of my favorite anecdotes that he tells is about when he was playing in the national finals for a prestigious private high school in Pittsburgh. That coach told them to "go out there and rip off their jocks!" My dad would tell that story, laugh, and then tell 10-year-old me not to actually rip their jocks off but to play fair and hard.

Our "battle cry" at our rural Missouri high school was "Blood makes the grass grow. KILL KILL KILL!"
posted by schyler523 at 4:53 PM on March 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


Best that he resigned, because he's lousy at the communication part of coaching. Which is, oh yeah, the bulk of what 'coaching' is.

The parent of a 7-year-old is busy enough. This guy sent an insanely long email that's a lot more about how amused and pleased he is by his own personality than about the nuts and bolts of soccer practice and his coaching plan. In the first paragraph, he warns you to "stop here" if you're "easily offended." He calls the girls (7 year olds) "ladies." He goes into detail on his worldview, and then faults his readers for not perceiving the "satire."

This is like something Michael on The Office would write, complete with the tetchy explanation of what 'comedy' is. Satire backfires in the hands of the unskilled, and doesn't give you sufficient cover when you set out to offend.

It's familiar stuff. Someone this narcissistic, with this many axes to grind (and that short a fuse and that much inability to admit a fuckup) doesn't need to be around young children. Regardless of his sports skills or philosophy, this just shows that his judgment is lousy; he's tone-deaf and too self-involved to understand that his role here is one of service, and that he's not sent by God to youth soccer to pick political and personal battles with the parent community. I would be thoroughly irrititated at wasting my time with this adolescent crap if I had signed my daughter up for her first sports experience and ended up with this in my inbox. It may amuse some of us from a distance, but I can still spot a red flag when I see it. This reads like something written by a scary, chip-on-the-shoulder dude. I don't fault a single parent for saying "Thanks, but no access to my kid."
posted by Miko at 2:26 PM on March 31 [18 favorites +] [!]


Is there a double favorite ability?
posted by Lacking Subtlety at 4:59 PM on March 31, 2009 [2 favorites]


I totally agree that this man has no business coaching, even if he was willing to toss cliche "girl power" feminism a bone.

In response to Jokers like this, my friend Jim Thompson, established the Positive Coaching Alliance. This group strives to find the balance between "everyone wins" and "punitive suicides 'till you collapse". As part of spreading his curriculum, he wrote a book called the Double Goal Coach that documents the success of a balanced coaching strategy. According to all of their studies, coaches that stress skill building in a positive manner find that their kids work harder and perform better.

The Coach in question does have a point, American youth do need to get up and engage in physical activities. Snarky, intimidating humor does nothing to encourage this.
posted by JimmyJames at 5:00 PM on March 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


Oh, and soccer is a contact sport. You will get hurt. What doesn't kill you will make you stronger.

I used to ref games for extra cash in the summer, and I had very little tolerance for hecklers. If a parent or coach was out of line, I would give a verbal warning, then a yellow card, then a red card. I must have kicked the same person out three times before he realized I wasn't messing around. That actually did make me a more assertive person. I've been on both sides and I understand the emotions that build up, but I also know when to tell someone to fuck right off.
posted by schyler523 at 5:02 PM on March 31, 2009


Our "battle cry" at our rural Missouri high school was "Blood makes the grass grow. KILL KILL KILL!"

Did you ever actually kill your opponents?! No?! Then you were poseurs! Pathetic!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 5:05 PM on March 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


"There are very few other countries in the world where this sort of attitude would be even vaguely acceptable."

Really? I don't think I believe you.


Feel free to name one place where this sort of attitude would be acceptable for a soccer team composed of 7-year old girls.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 5:05 PM on March 31, 2009


Torn between my rather dysfunctional gut reflex to want those kids to toughen the fuck up

What part of "seven years old" don't you understand?
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 5:06 PM on March 31, 2009


Scituate Youth Soccer board member Chris Park said the preseason letter may have been “tounge-in-cheek,” but saying he was going to challenge referees - some 12 years old - was inappropriate.

“It’s not a joke,” said Park. “He chewed out a 12-year-old so bad last year she said she won’t referee anymore.”

Park said the issue will come up at the next league meeting, but it’s gone far enough. “He’s over the top,” he added.

So, it's still the PC police?


I doubt it ever was. Like I said upthread, either the parents had never met this coach and were put off by his Full Metal Soccer routine, or they did know the guy to already be the Brock Samson of kiddie soccer, and this e-mail was the straw that broke the camel's back. It sounds like he has a history of overcoaching, that this was a culmination of things. Well, maybe it's better for everyone - he'll no longer have to deal with those "humorless PC police", and the parents won't have to deal with him.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:07 PM on March 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


Don't people in other countries routinely beat and kill one another and commit destructive vandalism over soccer?

What the hell is wrong with you all!? This is a team of seven-year-old girls!
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 5:08 PM on March 31, 2009


What is xedo?

On a unix system, you use the command "xedo" to execute a command as if you were Xenu.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 5:09 PM on March 31, 2009 [8 favorites]


I'm going to break into your house tonight and eat fuck your pets.

Even funnier!


Well, we were just going to watch tv tonight, but you're welcome to provide alternate entertainment.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 5:11 PM on March 31, 2009 [1 favorite]



Feel free to name one place where this sort of attitude would be acceptable for a soccer team composed of 7-year old girls

Former Norwegian prime minister Gro Harlem Brundtland was brought up in a notoriously brutal soccer milieu. She used to kick Mitterand's ass in international meetups.
posted by Dumsnill at 5:15 PM on March 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


What the hell is wrong with you all!? This is a team of seven-year-old girls!

I am in no way advocating these activities, but when I was a seven year old girl, we kids used to play full-contact tackle frozen tag, bombardment, and street "flag" football, if by "flag" you mean, "try as best you can not to break anyone's bones when you pull them down onto the pavement."
posted by FelliniBlank at 5:20 PM on March 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


Feel free to name one place where this sort of attitude would be acceptable for a soccer team composed of 7-year old girls.

I'm not the one making assertions, lupus_yonderboy. I can't claim international expertise on the training practices of girls' football leagues, but then again, you haven't offered any defense of your point, either. I will explain for the record why I doubt your assertion, though, since I assume that's what you really meant to ask. Because football is the most popular sport in the world, and is played with near fanatical devotion practically from infancy in many countries, including those whose children are not always treated with "kid gloves," especially where sport and national pride are on the line.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 5:25 PM on March 31, 2009


To respond to those concerned that the email was 'half-joking' and must therefore be, at least on some level, 'half-serious'... or those who are troubled by the fact that his comments aren't clearly delineated between 'serious' and 'jokes':

Blurring the boundaries is what makes it funny, it's part of the humour. It isn't necessarily an indication of a sadistic and disturbed mind. The parents who would jump to that conclusion, and complain directly to the administrators obviously take themselves (and their kids sports) way too seriously, ironic that's what the coach is accused of.

Not all humour comes with a laugh track to tell you when to be amused! Sometimes you have to work it out yourself.

As others have said, I wish my daughter played for the Green Death, kicked some ass, maybe skinned her knee. It's life.
posted by joz at 5:37 PM on March 31, 2009


MetaFilter: We're not talking about high school kids here. These are seven-year-olds.
posted by Netzapper at 5:41 PM on March 31, 2009


This isn’t two hours of free babysitting

Actually, that is at least part of what it is, and there's nothing wrong with that. To think otherwise is just to be deluded about what the job is.


Well, I just got back from taking a 5 year old to a ballet class where the moms in the waiting room were all discussing signing their daughters (5-7 yrs. old) up for tee-ball as exactly that: 2 hours of babysitting.

Yeah, at this age, it's EXACTLY what it is for a lot of parents. Not all, but definitely a significant number. And they collectively have no sense of humor. None.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 5:44 PM on March 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


Well, I grew up in England, Austria, and various parts of Canada - and I can tell you for a fact that while coaches aggressively wanted their kids to win, I never once saw any coach screaming at kids, urging them to injure others or anything like that, and I'm pretty sure that any coach doing that would have been ejected almost instantly.

Kids are perfectly aggressive on their own. The point of sports, the point of having a coach for little kids, is not to teach them to become more aggressive, it's to teach them to "play hard, but play fair".
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 5:46 PM on March 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


Or maybe, just maybe, not every parent is looking for wacky sketch-comedy shtick form their kids' coaches.

that was kinda my point.
posted by stargell at 5:49 PM on March 31, 2009




I never once saw any coach screaming at kids, urging them to injure others or anything like that

Have you personally seen any coach screaming at kids, urging them to injure others or anything like that in the US? No? Well then I guess it never happened. Yes? A few times? Then I guess it happened only a few times. All the time? Then I guess it happens on every team. I wonder what all the fuss is about.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 6:00 PM on March 31, 2009 [3 favorites]


He might be an ass, but I know what he means.
I played on a soccer team called the Steamrollers when I was about the same age, my dad coached, and interestingly enough our jerseys were green.
I don't think the name was chosen because we paved roadways, it was because we wanted to steamroll the opponents.
One thing I remember was how I hated losing, and loved winning, especially against kids that I knew from school! Sweet was the taste of a well delivered taunt the week after a victory.
Competition is good, but it can go too far, I think most adults know that. This coach is probably an ass, though, and not one with a finely tuned sense of humor.
posted by so_articulate at 6:11 PM on March 31, 2009


I have personally seen a coach screaming at kids here in the US. I've also talked to a lot of kids in the United States about their schools (and I have to say, I've been shocked every time). For example, I have been told that it's common for schools to have huge football programs and no music programs here - this is inconceivable in Canada, at least.

I stand by what I said. I believe from my time in Europe that the attitudes expressed in this discussion would be unacceptable in many parts of the world, that parents send their kids to school to have them better socialized, not to become more aggressive.

"It's Raining Florence Henderson" - do you have any experience outside the United States that leads you to believe I'm wrong? Or, some other facts or experiences that support your claims? My personal experiences might not be particularly strong as an argument, but it beats the heck out of nothing at all, which is what you're offering us.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 6:12 PM on March 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


Feel free to name one place where this sort of attitude would be acceptable for a soccer team composed of 7-year old girls.

Burkina Faso.
posted by stargell at 6:30 PM on March 31, 2009


Or, some other facts or experiences that support your claims?

What claims? If you read through my comments a second time you will note that I have made no claims to support, except that I don't believe you and that football is the most popular sport in the world, and is played with near fanatical devotion practically from infancy in many countries, including those whose children are not always treated with "kid gloves." The fact that I don't find your western-centric personal anecdotes especially convincing as evidence of what is or is not true on an international scale is something I suspect neither of us can do anything about. My statement that "football is the most popular sport in the world," however, I admit that I totally pulled out of my ass, and if that is not actually true, then my apologies to whoever is actually number one.

At any rate, I don't have the energy for a LOL USians derail right now, as I'm six days into a sinus infection and losing steam rapidly. Suffice to say, I don't personally support the "win at any cost" aggressive style of youth coaching you objected to any more than you do, and if your personal experiences have led you to believe that this is a uniquely American attitude, then I seriously doubt there's anything I could ever say to dissuade you. Nevertheless, you haven't convinced me either. For tonight, we'll have to call it a tie, and thank each other for the game. Cheers. Hold the GatorAid - I'm off to find some NyQuil.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 6:42 PM on March 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


159 total comments. 134 since your most recent comment, last 10 shown below...

134 comments in four plus hours. This is the death of Metafilter.
posted by caddis at 6:44 PM on March 31, 2009


The heckling the ref thing is well out of order. At every grade of competitive sport. Referees and umpires take on the job of handling the game and making it run smoothly so everyone else can just get on with playing. It's basically a thankless job, and for that reason alone referees and umpires deserve the players' respect. Sure, they make mistakes, but so does every player on the field in every game.

My personal rule in playing futsal was never to question a ref's decision for two reasons - respect and the fact that never in my life have I seen a ref reverse a decision they've already made, except in tennis where the umpire overrules a linesman's call occasionally. There may be other examples and I'd be interested to know what they are, but I can't think of any offhand.

I do think it's perfectly acceptable to engage the ref in dialogue about a decision, but after the heat has gone out of it, say at half-time or during some other break in play. And it's also OK to draw the ref's attention to something going on that you think is unfair (e.g. excessive pulling of a shirt or something) if you think the ref isn't aware of it.

But the basic rule is - the ref makes a decision and you say "thanks ref" and get on with the game. I think this is what happens in Rugby. Any idiot who thinks that yelling at the ref will help build character really shouldn't be involved with coaching.
posted by awfurby at 6:50 PM on March 31, 2009 [2 favorites]


metafilter: this is the death of Metafilter
posted by ornate insect at 7:00 PM on March 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


Wow, reminds me of this humor essay by Christopher Buckley, which was in an old New Yorker.


"Memo from Coach"
(links to a 3rd party website, cause its too old to be available for free on the New Yorker website).
posted by i less than three nsima at 7:05 PM on March 31, 2009 [2 favorites]


Nobody ever went broke underestimating the humor of the American soccer mom.
posted by Benjy at 7:39 PM on March 31, 2009 [2 favorites]


    134 comments in four plus hours. This is the death of Metafilter.
Maybe conficker is into girls' soccer?
posted by Decimask at 7:40 PM on March 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


Funny email. Guy's a dork. Shame about the sensitivity. NEXT!
posted by waxbanks at 8:02 PM on March 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


Marisa Stole the Precious Thing, I can only hope that there will be a "Brock Samson of kiddie soccer" around to coach my kids by the time I get around to having 'em.

(If only to teach them that mullets are a-ok, as are Zeppelin tattoos...)
posted by bitter-girl.com at 8:13 PM on March 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


Are they really 12 year old refs he's supposedly yelling at? Or is that ref who has been with the league 12 years? While teenagers sometimes ref little kids games, a 12 year old seems awfully young to be a returning ref.

I thought it was funny as hell and clearly meant to be, but I can also see how it wasn't an appropriate introduction letter from a coach to the new parents. I don't think he deserves scorn for having written it -- just for having sent it.
posted by jacquilynne at 8:34 PM on March 31, 2009


I can only hope that there will be a "Brock Samson of kiddie soccer" around to coach my kids by the time I get around to having 'em.

"It's Icarus ... the wings aren't done yet ..."
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 8:42 PM on March 31, 2009


Fuck this guy. These are little tiny kids, and I'm sorry but a coach for seven-year-olds is an outdoor babysitter, that's all.

He sounds like some aggro Tucker Max type who is going to GET FUKKIN' PISSED if you don't realize how funny he is, and how XTREME his email style can be, as proven by this dumb piece of Maxim shit he sent as a mass email to the parents of little tiny kids he was paid to babysit.

Honestly, fuck this guy. There's a reason these dildos are so tough in an email -- otherwise, they'd be swallowing their front teeth with a side of blood.
posted by kenlayne at 8:43 PM on March 31, 2009 [2 favorites]


Are they really 12 year old refs he's supposedly yelling at?

The refs at my 7-year-old daughter's soccer games look to be no more than 12 or 13. There are STRICT rules about contact with the refs in her league -- barring medical emergencies, only coaches may speak to the refs, and they may not question the ref's rulings at all. The fact that this guy treats 11 or 12 year old kids who are VOLUNTEERING (or being paid a pittance, though they are volunteers in my daughter's league) so badly that one would give up refereeing tells me that despite his claims that he was being "funny" he is, in fact, a dick. Like I said above, he is Kidding on the Square, which I think is a really cowardly thing to do. If you have an unpopular opinion or stance on an issue, don't hide behind the shield of humor, just come out and say what you mean.
posted by Rock Steady at 8:46 PM on March 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


I will go out on a limb and speculate that the 7 year old Green Death team could beat the crap out of they NYU Lunch Room protesters. Lets see, Green Death vs the Protesting Pansies... Over before it starts.
posted by jcworth at 8:46 PM on March 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm not particularly bothered by what he actually says in the email, but rather the degree to which the experience is all about him. If he is this tone deaf on trying to seem tough and witty, I wouldn't trust him not to harm my 7-year-old in the process of trying to show off. He seems to fancy himself in the mold of a legendary coach, but he's unfortunately based it on B-movie stereotypes and conservative-commentator poses. He likely refers to himself as a maverick.
posted by troybob at 9:31 PM on March 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


"I have personally seen a coach screaming at kids here in the US. I've also talked to a lot of kids in the United States about their schools (and I have to say, I've been shocked every time). For example, I have been told that it's common for schools to have huge football programs and no music programs here - this is inconceivable in Canada, at least."

You've seen coaches screaming at kids to injure other players? In the US, outside of a movie? And you've never seen a Canadian coach scream at his kids? Because that's what you're saying, and I'll say that within competition theater, the most pansy-ass bullshit pseudo-sport imaginable, I've seen a Canadian scream at his kids.

As for the idea that it's common to have a huge football program and no music program at all? Bullshit. It is common to have huge football programs here, and while I doubt the majority of schools lack any music instruction, I wouldn't think it unheard of. But to fulfill both qualifications and be common? You were either lied to, or are lying now, or are too eager to believe stereotypes about Americans.

Show me some numbers, or stop pretending you have anything but your confirmation bias backing you up.
posted by klangklangston at 9:49 PM on March 31, 2009


As for the idea that it's common to have a huge football program and no music program at all? Bullshit.

That is indeed 100 pounds of bullshit.

You know what you see at halftime at every high school football game in the U.S.?

The school's marching band.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:59 PM on March 31, 2009


Oh, and you know what you CAN see in the Great White North? Hockey Fight in Canada.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 10:03 PM on March 31, 2009


There are very few other countries in the world where this sort of attitude would be even vaguely acceptable.

USA! USA!

posted on spring break in Vancouver
posted by lukemeister at 11:26 PM on March 31, 2009


Ask Metafilter: Green Death
posted by lukemeister at 11:30 PM on March 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


never in my life have I seen a ref reverse a decision they've already made

I agree with the gist of your post, but, as an aside, that's not why you argue with a ref. You do it
a) for the crowd's benefit, a bit of excitement-generating theater, maybe, or
b) to influence later calls. If he's a bit afraid you'll start the temper tantrum again, he's more likely to swing the call your way. Yes, good refs can recognize that temptation. It's like advertising, it still works even when you know the trick.

That said, it's still not appropriate for a league of seven-year-olds and/or 12-year-old refs.
posted by ctmf at 11:39 PM on March 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


So, I've been busy and unable to respond to this thread all night, so excuse me if some of what I'm writing seems a little out-of-date already, but...

I'm astounded by the complete sense-of-humor failure here, not just on the part of the parents, but with a disturbing amount of Mefites as well. To a degere that can only be described as "fucked up." What is wrong with you people? I'm not kidding. Go see a counselor and please report with the results of why you cannot parse and comprehend both humor and the need for helicopter parents to loosen the reigns a little bit.

My sister was in gymnastics when she was about six or seven years old, at a place down the road from us in Houston called Bannon's Gym. At some point, a new gymnastics coach came in and called a meeting with all of the parents, explaining (in a deep, Eastern European accent) that their girls would have to commit their lives to this and become champions or else get out. My parents opted to get my sister out.

That coach was Bela Karolyi, but even in retrospect, my parents never had any regrets (nor did my sister). That sort of life was just not for her. They also did not complain to Bannon's about the hiring of an ultra-competitive coach, nor did any of the other parents who opted out.

This guy isn't Karolyi, but that's the point. He's affecting that tone as a joke to show the parents that he knows this is all for fun, but that he will still be pushing the girls on his team to excel, because he considers that to be his duty as their coach. Knees will be skinned, but that's a good thing. Kids need to skin their knees; that's part of the experience of being a kid. He is clearly joking throughout, and those who don't get that are the problem - not the coach. Again, I'm not exaggerating nor kidding. If you honestly found this offensive, please don't have children. You can only harm them through ignorance and overprotection.

As far as I can tell, the only "joke" ha made that came off at all as ambiguous and worrisome was the deal about berating the refs, which would indeed be problematic if it were true, but that issue seems to be put to rest by the missives from those who actually know him and have worked with him. Everything else - absolutely everything else - was clearly tongue-in-cheek with a legitimate and rational point behind it. Those points:
1. This should be fun, but winning is more fun than losing, and we want our girls to win.
2. Being good takes effort, and I will make sure they put in the effort.
3. Competition is good. Claiming that participation is enough lowers the bar to an unacceptable level, and misses the point. Competition is the crucible for self-betterment.
4. (this one is important) Competition will instill a sense of self-esteem in your girls, which surely must be part of the reason for paying the money and putting them into the sport in the first place, and I, the coach, plan to honor that by overriding the belief that girls and women should be demure, by teaching and training them to kick ass.
Yes, they're seven years old. Were you without understanding of the feeling of winning and losing at seven? Of course you weren't. You wanted to WIN, and this guy clearly cares for his team, and understands that they want to win. The fucking piece of shit parents who demand that their childrens' sports not keep score apparently think that the kids are too dumb to be able to keep score themselves, and treat their kids' pastimes as a time-waster instead of an opportunity for their kid to become, you know, good at something they enjoy.

This coach is, IMHO, ideal. I take optimistic heart in the thought that there must be a group of parents, somewhere, who understand his intentions, have a sense of humor, know that their kids can't grow up without skinning their knees occasionally, know that true competition encourages better performance, and will be chomping at the bit to hire on this guy to coach their little girls as no one else can.

But if I'm wrong, then I'm not sure I can have children in this country with the rest of the parents out their fucking it up for the potentially sensible ones.
posted by Navelgazer at 11:46 PM on March 31, 2009 [8 favorites]


IRFH: I know, I know...I'm so ashamed. ;)

CoolPapaBell beat me to the marching band point, the only reason there is a marching band at my high school is football games for the most part.
I was in marching band.

Organized youth contact sports are similar to huge lectures in introductory courses in college. They are there to prune the ranks of the people playing that sport.

Actually, the first two seasons of youth soccer resemble nothing close to soccer. It is almost always a scrum of children with (sometimes) the ball in the middle. 7 or 8 years old are the first few seasons after that, where some sort of structure and strategy begins to form.

It is perfectly reasonable for children to be competitive in sports. They are similar to hunting simulations/play/practice as they teach coordinated action as a group. Sports are what children in our society DO in lieu of hunting (in most locales.) Sports that were strictly non-competitive were not fun for young me. For me it required a goal to goad me into playing my hardest and that state has always been close to a sort of bloodlust. No intentional violence, of course, but "playing your heart out."

When a sport didn't/doesn't excite me that way any longer, I quit.
posted by schyler523 at 11:57 PM on March 31, 2009


Put me down on the side that the problem is the parents and not the coach based upon what limited information is really here.

Navelgazer has it right.
posted by sfts2 at 12:07 AM on April 1, 2009


Oh, and you know what you CAN see in the Great White North? Hockey Fight in Canada.

Those coaches were behaving in a reckless manner. A hockey game could have broken out.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:12 AM on April 1, 2009


Wait, there are "sides" in this story now? Um , OK. Put me in the one that recognizes the coach's previous traumatizing of a 12-year-old referee. I seriously doubt it was this e-mail alone - as weird and rambling as it is - that completely did him in. Also, not that this alone is grounds for firing anyone, but it doesn't help to be an overbearing blowhard who pre-accuses anyone who doesn't find what he's about to say funny of being "politically correct" and humorless. Coaching is a community job, no? Maybe it's best not to talk down to your community like a smug know-it-all.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 3:06 AM on April 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


3. Competition is good. Claiming that participation is enough lowers the bar to an unacceptable level, and misses the point. Competition is the crucible for self-betterment.
4. (this one is important) Competition will instill a sense of self-esteem in your girls


The Case Against Competition

The Cost of Competition on Kids

A few more quotes in the blog post here. If I had more time and knowledge, I'd find you more. Maybe someone else will.

I'm astounded by the complete sense-of-humor failure here, not just on the part of the parents, but with a disturbing amount of Mefites as well. To a degere that can only be described as "fucked up." What is wrong with you people? I'm not kidding. Go see a counselor and please report with the results of why you cannot parse and comprehend both humor and the need for helicopter parents to loosen the reigns a little bit.

One study demonstrated conclusively that competitive children were less empathetic than others; another study showed that competitive children were less generous.

Cooperation, on the other hand, is marvelously successful at helping children to communicate effectively, to trust in others and to accept those who are different from themselves.

posted by dolca at 4:46 AM on April 1, 2009 [4 favorites]


This guy isn't Karolyi, but that's the point. He's affecting that tone as a joke to show the parents that he knows this is all for fun, but that he will still be pushing the girls on his team to excel, because he considers that to be his duty as their coach.

The point is that he failed at whatever he was trying to do, and then he blamed others for his failure. If you write something that is supposed to be received as a joke, and then it isn't--to the point that people are calling for your resignation--then you have to consider that it's your own fault for failing to deliver your message as you intended. Communication requires you to consider context and to know your audience. The fact that he blames others for his own failure says more about his sportsmanship than the email itself. He has failed to negotiate the ability to joke with parents he is supposed to know how to deal with, which makes me wonder if he communicates as poorly with 7-year-olds.

Plus, it just wasn't funny. It was creepy to the point that I would bet that the first draft had a child molestation joke, perhaps removed as whatever he was drinking started to wear off.
posted by troybob at 6:15 AM on April 1, 2009 [3 favorites]


So, wait -- we can all amazingly figure out this guy's psychological profile and intention from one email?

You guys are a bunch of fucking magicians!

Meh. If it was my kid's coach, I'd talk to him face-to-face before throwing a fit either way.
posted by grubi at 6:16 AM on April 1, 2009


I think he is not helped by the fact that the email goes on way too long, like an SNL sketch that's not funny to begin with. Any single thing he said in there might have been funny in the context of a longer, more serious email (not to mention with a well-placed 'hehe' or even emoticon), but this email was entirely a joke. If this was his only pre-season email and represents his introduction to the parents, it was a stupid move, like making a racist joke in a job interview.
posted by troybob at 6:33 AM on April 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


Yuppie Parents upset with someone who is going to make their kids face the cold reality that hard work and determination is expected of them?!?!?! NOOOOO! That if you win good, keep it up and if you lose then you are a loser?!?!? NOOOO!!!! E-mail with some dark humor that PC parents were mad about?!?!?! DEAR GOD NOOOO!!!

If you drift through his humor, which could have been a little too much, there is truth in it. Kids are playing sports and should expect to get bruised and should be expected to get back up without having both parents upset. Grant it he could have used less shock value humor but if he would have simply stated "They might be your kids, but when on the field, they are My players." Now a days parents are the first to run out and threaten whoever hurt their child. What ever happened to letting boys be boys?

For people that disagree with coach's sense of humor... I hope you enjoy having your kids live with you until they are 30.
posted by Mastercheddaar at 6:50 AM on April 1, 2009


"Spectacular.... too bad these girls will have their coach replaced by some Starbucks sipping, Land Rover driving parent with no love and/or knowledge of the game. But on the bright side, everyone will get a trophy and there will be oranges for all during timeouts. I'd let my daughter play for this man in a heartbeat."

What's wrong with oranges for all? Losers don't get to eat?

Here's the deal with "humorless" parents: parenting exposes you to many absurdities, but it also imposes a crushing sense of responsibility. Laugh at the coach's email, and then find out later that it was a red flag and he did traumatize your kid? Experience crushing guilt, and quite possibly, judgement from people just like the ones defending this dude who will say "How could you ignore the warning signs? This guy was clearly a freak! You are a terrible parent!"

While there is such a thing as overprotection, it would behoove those who hate on helicopter parents to remember that the costs for failing to protect your kid in any way usually involve large numbers of people shaming you for doing so, for taking any chances whatsoever with their safety or well-being. It's not surprising that lots of parents do end up overcompensating.

And this guy does sound like douche, for the most part. They're SEVEN.
posted by emjaybee at 7:35 AM on April 1, 2009 [4 favorites]


What ever happened to letting boys be boys?

He was the coach of a girl's team.

As an aside, gender expectations and pressure to conform to such are a pretty shitty deal for everyone.
posted by pseudonymph at 7:44 AM on April 1, 2009


Kids are playing sports and should expect to get bruised and should be expected to get back up without having both parents upset.

Thinking this guy isn't funny isn't the same thing as disagreeing with this statement, no matter how you try to spin that. Plus, his constant referencing of 'political correctness' says more that he's some right-wing creep whose going to call your kid a pussy for not playing with a broken ankle. He's trying to be some kind of combo of Mike Ditka and Bill Hicks, but the outcome is that this coaching thing looks to be more about himself than about the girls. Maybe if his message had shown some genuine concern for his charges and something about why he wants to or should be coaching them, rather than using them for scoring jokes and promising to kick their asses, the parents might not have reacted as they did.
posted by troybob at 7:48 AM on April 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


This guy has listened to way too much Rush. In fact this, "Hey, it was only a joke!" Was what won Rush a pass in the early days. "Liberals have no sense of humor" was the meme until Frankin wrote "Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot". The email can be taken at least two ways. That he was abusive to the 12 year old ref makes me think he is of Rush's ilk.
posted by pointilist at 8:39 AM on April 1, 2009



The Case Against Competition

The Cost of Competition on Kids


Are you kidding? Well meaning child "experts" seem Hell bent on turning a generation of kids into pampered babies with exaggerated self esteem and who will be ill prepared to handle competition in the real world. This guy was making a big (stupid) joke with that email, but this sort of coddling is the political correctness he was attempting to lampoon. He contrasted the extreme coddling with extreme competition. The right balance falls somewhere in between.
posted by caddis at 8:42 AM on April 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


Christ, what an asshole.
posted by theora55 at 9:00 AM on April 1, 2009


You know what? This, too, was BS:
Some say soccer at this age is about fun and I completely agree. However, I believe winning is fun and losing is for losers. Ergo, we will strive for the “W” in each game. While we may not win every game (excuse me, I just got a little nauseated)
And here's why:
The fucking piece of shit parents who demand that their childrens' sports not keep score apparently think that the kids are too dumb to be able to keep score themselves...
Navelgazer is quite right in understanding that the kids can keep score for themselves even if their parents don't. And, what he and all of those who are so supportive of this coach have missed, is that the kids *ALREADY KNOW* the difference between winning and losing. My three year old daughter, who has never played in a competitive sport in her life, has recently taken to challenging me to races, and when she *amazingly* wins she shouts gleefully "I WIN! YOU LOSE!". Perhaps the fans of this coach think I should be showing exactly how futile her little challenges are by beating her every time? Motivate her by making her repeatedly taste the humiliation of losing?

So, we don't need douchebag coaches who think its a joke to reinforce the notion that if you lose you're a loser. The point of these sports is to teach good sportsmanship and that even if you lose at something you cared about, and these kids do care, you can still be proud that you did your best, and enjoy the pleasure of the contest without being crushed by the loss.

Its the people who think sports are all about winning who are the problem. The sports are supposed to be for fun, and yes, winning is fun, but its not a lesson you need to reinforce. Doubly so for even hinting that there is any shame for a seven year old in a loss.
posted by Reverend John at 9:13 AM on April 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


Put me down on the side that the problem is the parents and not the coach based upon what limited information is really here.

Is there a "side" that says there's plenty of blame to be laid on both here? If so, that's the "side" I'm on.

A pox on both their houses.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 9:16 AM on April 1, 2009


Patriot Ledger: Scituate ‘Green Death’ coach’s satirical e-mail causes national furor
“The e-mail – which suggested players be fed undercooked raw meat for strength and prepared parents to see some blood – has inspired hundreds of articles and blog posts across the country, with many applauding it as an attack on the political correctness that has smothered youth sports in recent years.

… For some fellow coaches, the e-mail was an example of crossing the fine line that exists for those in youth sports.

‘I’m sure he didn’t mean the things he said,’ said Tom Reske, whose team recently received an MIAA sportsmanship award. ‘But it’s a different world than it was 25 years ago, and you’re scrutinized for everything.’

Reske said that while the words may have offended some parents, the underlying message is a good one.

‘It’s good to have passion, and it’s good to want to win,’ he said. ‘But it’s a fine line, and you could say one thing that offends a parent, and all hell breaks loose.’

Terry Murphy, who was Kinahan’s assistant coach last year, said the comments have been grossly blown out of proportion.

‘I’m amazed by what people are trying to make this,’ said Murphy, who said the e-mail’s final point about the strength of girls in sports is more indicative of his coaching style than the other jokes.

‘At the end of the year, a lot of girls sign up again because of (Kinahan),’ he said. ‘If we can’t have a little bit of humor involved in youth sports, or any sports, that’s pretty sad.’

Several team parents also circulated e-mails and expressed support for Kinahan, including those who have had him as a coach in previous years.

Christopher Walker, whose daughter played for the team last year, said they received a similar e-mail that most found humorous.

‘When you see it, and realize it is in jest, we thought the e-mails were pretty amusing,’ Walker said. ‘His coaching style is one in which he encourages and motivates the girls. The parents never gave him a chance.”
posted by ericb at 9:59 AM on April 1, 2009


“The political correctness police are not welcome on my sidelines,” he added

Why do idiots always use that phrase?
posted by nola at 3:53 PM on March 31


From what I could see on the results from google, that phrase has never been used online outside this news story.
posted by Ynoxas at 10:00 AM on April 1, 2009


I'm pretty sure he meant "political correctness".
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:03 AM on April 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


I was assuming the phrase was "political correctness police".
posted by Horace Rumpole at 10:06 AM on April 1, 2009


Anecdote time:

My 9 y.o. son had a baseball game last night, and our team, the expansion team (and a little bit hapless in general) had to play THE CARDINALS who are all a foot taller, and went undefeated in fall ball 14-0. Everyone is scared to death of THE CARDINALS. So, they went out there with the attitude of "oh, well, we're gonna lose," and proceeded to give the game away. At my kid's second at-bat, he had a 2-2 count after whiffing one, watching a good one go by, and taking 2 high balls. Next pitch hit him hard, and square in the cheek. Not sure why he didn't lose any teeth. I heard the ball smack flesh from 30 feet away. The umpire asked him "Are you okay?" and he nodded, while holding his cheek in his hand. He looked around like "what do I do here?" then after a couple coaches looked him over for wounds, he trotted towards first. Our first base coach went over to him to double-check, and said "are you bleeding?" He nodded yes, and the coach said "Swallow it -- it'll make your hair grow longer." (he's the hippy on the team.) He smiled, nodded, then got ready to steal second. At the end of the inning, they got him some ice, and took a closer look. He assured everyone he was FINE. After the game, the coach made every one else on the team do 5 pushups in his honor, because he'd taken a ball to the face for the team, and kept going, while the rest of them were goofing around and giving up. He was pretty damn proud of that.

Not sure what that has to do with the maligned email coach, except that our coaches displayed a pretty good balance of 1. Come on, slackers! 2. Are you okay? 3. If yes, suck it up and keep going.
posted by Devils Rancher at 10:54 AM on April 1, 2009


I think he is not helped by the fact that the email goes on way too long, like an SNL sketch that's not funny to begin with.

I thought it was more like the David Brent Dance.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 10:58 AM on April 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


Are you kidding? Well meaning child "experts" seem Hell bent on turning a generation of kids into pampered babies with exaggerated self esteem and who will be ill prepared to handle competition in the real world.

"Experts". Funny how that works.

Alfie Kohn (b. October 15, 1957) is an author and lecturer who has explored a number of topics in education, parenting, and human behavior. He is considered a leading figure in progressive education and has also offered critiques of many traditional aspects of parenting, managing, and American society more generally, drawing in each case from social science research...

...Several of Kohn’s books address broad topics (e.g., human nature, competition, motivation) by drawing from research and theory from multiple academic fields. Others of his books focus on educational topics – or, in one case, on parenting. His books have been translated into more than a dozen languages and many have been assigned as course readings in universities.

...Kohn has written hundreds of articles for academic journals, popular magazines, and newspapers, many of which are available on his website. Among the publications to which he has contributed are The Atlantic, the New York Times, the Harvard Business Review, the Chronicle of Higher Education, Parents, and a variety of education periodicals.


Not that I know he's right, of course - we as a society are always re-evaluating how best to bring up our children (as we should, right?). But it's notable how easily you dismissed his ideas.



turning a generation of kids into pampered babies with exaggerated self esteem and who will be ill prepared to handle competition in the real world

I always find it strange how much I hear this. Almost everyone I know or have known well have had traumatic childhoods. Everywhere I look I see adults who struggle with self-loathing. I don't see kids shoulders wide open, eager to face the world - I see kids having to hide in hoodies, relying on being in gangs for self-esteem and safety, often having to take care of parents who can't take care of them, or trying to fend off the bullying and abuse from adults who don't care about them until they can get out.

A great way to prepare kids so they can handle competition in the real world would be to teach them that the world is harsh, but that their self-worth need not be tied with competition - there will always be people better than you at something, and if your self-esteem is reliant on winning, you'll realise you're a failure sooner or later.

And this competitive world? We're the cause of it. Teach our kids to be competitive, and nothing changes. Look at the world right now. Look at how well the focus on competition, achievement and status is working out for everyone.

And doesn't every generation say what you said about the next? Isn't it just the Four Yorkshiremen sketch?



This guy was making a big (stupid) joke with that email, but this sort of coddling is the political correctness he was attempting to lampoon. He contrasted the extreme coddling with extreme competition. The right balance falls somewhere in between.

What extreme coddling? Are you saying he was mocking the parents in an email to the parents? Are you really telling me you're surprised they reacted the way they did?

Let me be clear at least with my own personal view: I don't necessarily think he should have lost his position, and I don't think I know him from an email and an apology - but I know that he at best miscommunicated within that context of a coach's first email to parents of 7-year-olds. As far as I can see, he resigned - he was not fired. But y'know, I'm not gonna say any more about this - I'm getting the feeling that this is all just feeding into the persecution complex of people who like to complain about political correctness. And I'm pretty sick of it.
posted by dolca at 11:00 AM on April 1, 2009 [6 favorites]


As a coach of 11-12 yo boys baseball and 17 and under girls softball, we need more coaches like this - just take away his computer.

Alot of our thoughts become problematic when we let them become spoken words.
posted by winks007 at 11:24 AM on April 1, 2009


All this aside, I just want to say I think more sports teams should be named after Doctor Who episodes.
posted by webmutant at 11:42 AM on April 1, 2009


As a coach of 11-12 yo boys baseball and 17 and under girls softball, we need more coaches like this....

Coaches like this for 17 or even 12 year olds is one thing. But a coach like this for SEVEN-year-olds? I would say the younger the kid, the more one may want to scale back the red-blooded-win-at-all-costs jazz JUST a tetch.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:23 PM on April 1, 2009


The e-mail – which suggested players be fed undercooked raw meat

As opposed to overcooked raw meat? Way to edit, Patriot-Ledger. Way to edit.
posted by dersins at 12:44 PM on April 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


"The parents never gave him a chance.”

Yeah they did. They gave him a chance when they opened up the first email from coach to parents.

He had the same chance any other coach gets. It was his to flub. And he flubbed it. It's a real stretch to blame someone else for it.
posted by Miko at 1:05 PM on April 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


I hereby nominate dolca as replacement soccer coach.
posted by Rock Steady at 1:14 PM on April 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


Are you really telling me you're surprised they reacted the way they did?


no, I did say it was a stupid joke. the parent's reaction was pretty predictable.
posted by caddis at 2:41 PM on April 1, 2009


At the worst this coach is nuts.
At the best this is just bad humor.
Frankly, I'd be skeptical of him not because of his humor but because he seems to have poor judgement.
This piece he wrote isn't funny. It's dumb. And when you send something out to parents of young kids you have to have a bit of judgement as to what you are writing and how it sounds. Or might sound to others.
In short, know your audience.
If you don't care who your audience is then fine - but don't expect to stay a teacher or a coach for long.
posted by Rashomon at 2:51 PM on April 1, 2009


Anyone who would hassle a 12 year old ref at a U8 game is an ass.

And I've seen these coaches. I'm on my fourth season coaching my daughter, (U10 this fall), and there is just no excuse for that. The fact that he "tipped his hand" talking about the "political correctness police" just solidifies my opinion of him.
posted by Windopaene at 3:56 PM on April 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


Wonder how long til he's on tour with Joe the Plumber.
posted by troybob at 4:57 PM on April 1, 2009


My first-year comp class is, at the moment, working on using audience-appropriate vocab, formality, and tone in persuasive writing, and thanks to Kinahan, I now have a ready-made discussion activity for tomorrow. Less work for me, yay!
posted by FelliniBlank at 5:33 PM on April 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


The true problem here is not that he wrote a letter he shouldn't have or that the parents overreacted, but that the parents weren't capable of or interested in having a human conversation with their children's coach about their beef before demanding action. That's the lesson their children will get from this, and it's a terrible one to teach.
posted by Mikey-San at 12:19 AM on April 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


...but that the parents weren't capable of or interested in having a human conversation with their children's coach about their beef before demanding action.

Or maybe the problem was that the coach apparently chose this kind of email as his first interaction with the parents.
posted by troybob at 5:18 AM on April 2, 2009 [2 favorites]


the parents weren't capable of or interested in having a human conversation with their children's coach about their beef before demanding action

Waste of time. It doesn't take a genius - it's not like they misunderstood him.
posted by Miko at 6:21 AM on April 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


Waste of time.

I can't imagine the hell that would be having a conversation with this guy and trying to explain my concerns with his attitude and trying to get him to see my point of view. I can imagine phrases like "this is who I am, you're just going to have to deal with it" and "I'm not going to change who I am" being used a lot. Ugh. Seriously, the thought of it is exhausting.
posted by Rock Steady at 6:45 AM on April 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


This guy has a lame sense of humor. If you laughed with him (rather than at him), you are lame as well. In a just universe, subjecting people to humor this lame would be a firing offense no matter what the job. The man is lucky he was allowed to resign when he deserved to be escorted from the premises by a security officer to a chorus of "booo" from his relieved cow orkers.
posted by straight at 1:58 PM on April 2, 2009 [2 favorites]


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