My dad coached me in basketball one year.  He might have continued to be my coach, except for after the one year he did coach me I insisted I would only play if dad did not coach me.  You see, I know as a parent now that sometimes we're harder on our own kids than we are on the rest of the kids.  We want them to excel and sometimes that's at the expense of their feelings.

jamie bball

{that's me top right and my dad is the one on the left}

I don't remember what the drill was that we were working on during this particular practice, but I remember my dad had me do the drill so the rest of the team could watch and then he said, “now girls that's exactly how you are not supposed to do it”.  I was mortified.  I have no idea if I cried or not, but I do remember going home and telling my mom that I never wanted my dad to coach me again.  I was embarrassed and felt a little betrayed that I was used as the example of how to play basketball wrong.

That scene has been laughed about a lot over the years between my dad and I.  I hold no hard feelings and he has apologized multiple times.  I think every time we joke about it he apologizes, just to make sure I'm not holding a grudge!

Recently at my kids basketball game I recreated this scenario and I'm still feeling sick about what I did.  I'm a competitive person and I want my kids to play well and hustle on the court.  I could be that mom that her husband has to tell her to shut up during games.  I learned at this particular Saturday that I do not want to be that person and I will fight this at each game my kids play.

Deacon is a great hustler.  At this particular game there was a free ball and him and another kid were trying to get it and they both had it in their hands at the same time.  Instead of fighting for the ball, Deacon basically just handed him the ball.  I of course didn't like this and decided at half time I was going to go over and give him a pep talk about playing hard on the court.

I wish I would have never left my seat.

After the coach was done with this half time talk, I pulled Deacon aside and told him that he needs to fight for the ball and then I joked that he practically just handed the ball to the other team.  I thought I was being encouraging and giving him a great pep talk, but instead it turned bad quickly.  A few of his friends over heard me and then started joking that Deacon was just handing the other team the ball.  They were all laughing, and Deacon turned and  looked at me as tears filled his eyes.  My heart sunk and I felt like the worst parent in the world.  In that moment I was so ashamed of the parent that I was.  None of the other parents were coaching their kid during half time.  For the love, he's seven.

I left and went back to my seat feeling defeated.  Deacon played so well the next half.  He hustled and fought for the ball, but at what expense?  I have no idea if this memory will be in his mind forever like the one of my dad humiliating me in front of my friends is, but I do know one thing, and that is that  I made a promise to Deacon that day and one I intend to keep no matter how hard it is for me.  That afternoon I pulled him in my room, snuggled with him in my bed and looked him straight in the eyes and promised that I will never again let that happen.  I apologized for hurting his feelings.  I told him that what I did was wrong.  He forgave me and ran out to get back to playing Star Wars.

Parenting is hard.  We make mistakes.  Sometimes I feel like I'm constantly making mistakes.  One thing I know is that it is never hard for me to apologize to my kids.  I want them to know that I screw up, and when I do, I'm so sorry and will do my best to change my ways.


Jamie Ivey