by Mindy Gallagher
Mean coaches. Over the years , I’ve heard some real doozies.
“Now you can take up knitting” said the high school soccer coach to the student athlete she was cutting from the team.
“We stopped listening after the forty-seventh F-bomb” explained the high school basketball player when asked what the coach said during a post-game “pep” talk.
Why do we allow high school — or even middle school and younger — coaches to speak to our kids in a manner that would be completely unacceptable for teachers? For example, what if your son walked into his chemistry class one day and the teacher welcomed him with: “Why are you even in here in Honors Chem? So you can get laid? For p*%##?”
Hey, if it’s okay for a high school lacrosse coach to say to this to one of his players – and that really happened – shouldn’t it be okay for a high school science teacher to do the same? (Maybe a biology or anatomy teacher would be more appropriate?)
Let’s say your daughter was attending an after school Spanish club meeting and the club advisor/teacher asked: “Where’s your fat brother? Why isn’t he here?” (A question asked by a high school football coach during off season weight lifting.)
Why do so many abusive coaches feel the need to curse, intimidate, belittle, name call, and yell at their athletes? Well, actually, those who can’t coach yell, so, I kinda get the yelling, I guess.
Can you imagine if high school teachers taught the way some high school coaches coach? Picture a teacher running down a row of desks, grabbing a student by the shirt, pulling him up off his chair, shoving him towards the front of class yelling “Get up there, kid!! Solve this geometry problem for us!”
Maybe we could cut back on those tardy notices if, when late for class students were greeted with: “Drop and give me twenty (push-ups)!” And if they protested: “Class started three minutes ago – we don’t run on your schedule, now make it fifty – and if you complain again, it will be a hundred.”
Teachers could help fight the obesity epidemic if every time the class had difficulty grasping a new concept, the solution was “Everybody line up – we’re gonna run until we get this right.”
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a coach as “one who instructs or trains” and a teacher as: “one who teaches, one whose occupation is to instruct.” Not much difference between the two, really. I think teachers could learn a thing or two from mean coaches. Maybe teachers need to pick up the pace here! Maybe it will bring straight A’s!
Other school-related activities could follow along. Opening night of the school play, the auditorium packed with parents, relatives, teachers and fellow students, the director in the middle of a scene shouts: “What the HELL are you doing – move over, move over – that’s not your spot! S#@*!!”
The next time the orchestra performs for a crowd and the violinist misses a note, the conductor should her rip out the ear piece, throw the baton on the floor, and yell at the musician. You know, the way mean coaches do when someone on the team misses a throw, catch or goal during a game.
Maybe we’re on to something here. And let’s start early, like we do with sports. As our children are learning to read elementary school teachers could yell: “WHAT?! You call that reading? That’s not reading! Take a seat. Next!”
So let’s hear from principals, school officials, athletic directors, and coaches themselves. What is your rationale behind such behavior? Educate us – just try and refrain from dropping the F-bomb or calling us names. Please. We’re all adults here.
Mindy Gallagher is social media manager for Your Teen and the mother of three high-school and college athletes.