When I started, I knew very little about soccer.
I decided to go online and find out different plays, drills, and practice schedules.
After all, it was my job to prepare these kids to WIN.
We started practice on an early September afternoon and the kids showed up starry eyed and dazzled by the green of the grass.
Like a drill sergeant preparing his troops for battle, I started in on designing plays, giving consequences for failed routes, and helping the kids get in shape by using running drills for punishment. I wasn't such a great elementary coach.
At the end of the season we were 9-0, and had ZERO goals scored on us.
We were a well oiled machine.
After the season trophy presentation, one of the parents asked me to step down as the coach because they felt like I was taking the game too serious. They said, "I need to learn how to teach kids to have fun, and let them grow up."
I agreed, and humbly stepped down. My pride was hurt, as I thought I did a good job, but if the parent's weren't happy, then I get it.
The next season, a new coach took over.
He encouraged the parents to clap for their kids when they scored a goal.
He made sure everyone got a chance to play.
And He rewarded the kids for showing up for practice instead of rewarding based on accomplishment.
In the middle of the season the team was 0-5, and all of the sudden I started getting inquiries from the same parents who "fired" me from the year before. "Hey, Braner, you wouldn't want to come back and take over, would you?"
I couldn't help but smile and politely decline.
Who did these parents think I was?
I knew what it was going to take to win, and cheering just for the sake of being alive wasn't going to do it.
I did realize I didn't have to run it like a drill sergeant, but come on. Everyone doesn't deserve a trophy for just showing up.
I think there's a cultural kick back happening in the world right now. We're feeling the consequences of all those years of telling our kids "You Deserve it" While they didn't really do anything to deserve anything.
The equation of self worth is a mix of variables. Experience, Genetics, Accomplishments, and Failures all stack up to help us develop what is at the core of our own essence. We learn how to act, react, and ultimately do the right things when life starts getting hard. We learn how to accept failure, and celebrate successes.
Throw in an unhealthy dose of social media, and now we have a group of kids who 'deserve' a trophy, and now are entitled to lots of friends, likes, and clicks to prove their value.
I recently talked to a student who was throwing a fit because they only had 100 twitter followers. "Conan OBrian has thousands, why can't I only have 1K?" He asked, almost as if it was owed to him to have a certain number of public celebrity status.
"Well, Conan OBrian is Conan Obrian...' I said. "He's spent a lifetime working comedy, and has taken a lot of risk to be a celebrity."
And the student looks at me with a blank stare like a Deer in headlights standing in the middle of a crowded highway.
We've created a group of students who feel owed, entitled, lack of responsibility to engage in the consequences of their actions. I'm watching as 35-40 year old ADULTS are incapable to just 'doing the right thing' because they feel as though the world owe's them something.
It's a strange world we live in where standing up and doing the right thing has been drowned out by the cheers of parents trying to make us feel good about ourselves. And that's why we need to continue letting our kids fail.
They figure out life.
And then they get up and become responsible citizens.
It hurts when you loose the game.
It's no fun when you have to work for what you have.
It seems as though everyone around has it easier.
But in the end, it's the Journey that counts....Not the Destination.