Why do coaches put up with it?

I used to think umpiring youth baseball games was tough.  You get to the field 15 minutes before the game, listen to adults complain for two hours and you go home.  My dad and I used to umpire together.  We did it for several reasons.  We both had a love for the game and enjoyed being a small part of allowing kids the opportunity to develop that same passion for baseball.  Also, it allowed us to spend time together and the little bit of money we made meant we could go out to dinner on the way home.

Being an umpire is nothing compared to be a coach.  As a coach, you don’t go away.  You have a cell phone that will ring constantly.  I get more text messages than my teenage daughter.  I need to create a “Hate Mail” folder in my email inbox.  I have coached baseball at the recreation level through high school and have seen it happen at all levels.

I don’t need to list specifics because it’s ridiculous.  I am sure you have heard them all anyway.  Obviously, the most common complaint is about playing time.  People will do and say anything they can because of a perceived vendetta against their son.  It truly brings out the worst in people.

By now, I am sure you are thinking, “Why doesn’t this crybaby just stop coaching?”

The kids.

When you watch the kids celebrate a victory with huge smiles on their faces, it’s worth it.  When a kid comes up to you and says, “Hey Coach!  I tried the thing you showed me at practice and I went 4-for-4”, it’s worth it.  When you see the kid that sits the bench more than anyone come through for his team, it’s worth it.

Most coaches will try to keep a positive attitude even when dealing with negative adults because the reward is worth it.  Call it selfish, but seeing the kids enjoying success and developing a love for the game makes me smile.  That’s why I coach.

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