The Mobridge-Pollock sports world was turned atilt last week when volleyball coaches Keri and Rick Bolduan resigned.
I am not going to delve into any of the he said, she said background of the fiasco. Everything I have learned is hearsay, rumor and innuendo.
What I will give is an insight into how this kind of incident would have been played out if it were a conflict that involved a child of mine, a coach and me.
First, you have to understand that I have a professional was well as personal relationship with the Mobridge-Pollock coaches. I have had to learn to separate, as best I can, those two relationships when I have had a child competing in sports. The two worlds do collide.
I have felt the need to stand up for my child with a coach in the past, including a spat with the Bolduans.
This is the first time anyone has heard about me being upset with a coach (it would remain quiet if not for the present situation), and here is why, I went to the coach for an honest and open conversation. No one else was involved. Both sides stated their case. Sure there was a little ire in the discussion, but there should be when people are passionate about their feelings. When all was said and done there was no bad blood, because everything was honest and out in the open. Then the whole thing was put to bed with no one having ill feelings or loss respect for the other.
In other words, I went through the process of making a private matter a private matter.
It can be tough at times. Every parent is hopefully invested in their child’s athletic and academic endeavors. We all wish our kid could be the brightest star on the field and in the classroom. Unfortunately, not all stars can be the shiniest in the sky.
Not every child is the best athlete or even one of the best. I know, I spent a lot of time watching my teammates while cheering from the sideline.
Sometimes I am reminded of my earlier time in sports. It was a time when coaches had much more autonomy. Athletes played by the coach’s rules under the guidance of the coach’s decisions.
Fall sports start soon. One of the first things that will happen is a big meeting with coaches, players and parents. Those were unheard of 30 some odd years ago.
In the ‘70s under coach John Salsziedler, the first football team meeting had a coach to players address and (I’m paraphrasing now) part of it went something like this.
“We in this room are a football family. What happens in this family stays with this family. If I hear one of you took something home that happened within this family, I will personally kick your butt up and down the practice field.”
I know that times change. I understand things cannot be like that anymore. But I also know that gave the team a kind of inner sanctum. It made us care more for the man to right and the man to the left. It created responsibility and it created kinship.
Back then the coach was part drill sergeant, part dictator and part father figure. We could hate the man and have the desire to run through a wall for him at the same time.
The goal was to become the best team we could be. Sure, our parents were in the stands cheering for us, but it was about us. It was about the Tigers. It was about proving to ourselves that we could come out the victor.
I do miss the separation of sports family and the loved ones at home. Perhaps I am naïve for my age.