Friday, February 24, 2012

Long time, no blog

Hello again!

It's been a while since my last post, so I thought I'd better get something out there that you can read. As many of you know, I got a new job in Selah with Matson Fruit Company. A great place with equally great people. I'm working on keeping my head down and focusing on the tasks I'm assigned. Right now I'm creating and modifying reports: Crystal and InfoMaker. I'm also working in Oracle mostly with a fair amount of SQL Server as well. I'm learning a lot about the fruit growing and packing industry.

I was also able to get a fix for my “football jones.” I'm a line coach with the Yakima Mavericks semi-pro football team for this spring. And as is my usual schedule, I'll be looking to get into youth football for this fall. I'm trying to get in touch with the Selah Grid Kids program, rather than Yakima, because I'll be only a few blocks from practice once the season starts. I know I'll be wanting to coach kids this season, so I might as well make arrangements now.

I've been able to find us a new church. I miss Four Lakes Community Church and its people, but God's got other plans for me. First was to get me out of Cheney and into Yakima, then to place me at Calvary Chapel Yakima Valley. It's at the corner of Nob Hill Blvd and 40th Ave, about five minutes from the house. Some of you know how much Sharon hates new areas, but God placed us in a great location. Five blocks up to Nob Hill, then left two locks to Safeway, a couple of miles farther down is Walmart. And Calvary Chapel and a Baskin Robbins is between the two.

In Lacey, I went to high school at North Thurston. My senior year we lost in the state semi-finals to West Valley Spokane. When I was with the South Sound Shockers semi-pro football team, our home field was at North Thurston. When I moved to Cheney and the Spokane Wolfpack, we used West Valley Spokane as our home field. Now that I'm with the Yakima Mavericks, our home field is (well, next season after they put in field turf this spring) is where we lost to West Valley Spokane... Eisenhower High School. See the pattern developing?

To any and all potential employers... I'm off the market, so please disregard any of my resumes that may still be floating out there. I'm looking for them all and trying to pull them down as I find them.

What did I learn from my [thankfully] short stint on unemployment? A few things. First, being unemployed sucks. Second, the Unemployment folks are not your friends. At least the computers aren't. And third, regardless of what the Democrats are saying, unemployment checks are NOT stimulus. They are enough to get by for a short time, but being unemployed does NOT help the economy. So the sooner Pelosi, Jarret, et al. shut their pie-holes about it, the better.

Until the next time...

Friday, October 21, 2011

Unemployment sucks

The feeling of rejection when you lose your job digs deep into the soul, causing severe doubts to arise. Doubts about your worth, about your ability to support your family, about your ability to ever find another job. Especially when you find out what people really think of you... in writing. I'm not bitter, just disappointed that I won't have the opportunity to repair those relationships. I miss everyone, even after what they said about me.

I try to keep it light by saying, "I didn't really lose my job. I know where it is, but they won't let me have it back." But after a while, when the lights are out and it's after midnight, you lie awake staring at the ceiling. The pain is real... well, that's my diabetic neuropathy. But the emotional pain is just as real.

You look online through all of the job boards wondering if you really can meet the minimum job requirements. Your sense of self worth is shot and every job seems to require a doctorate, or at least a GED. The state employment security department calls because they can't tell from your application if you were fired for cause or not, even though you followed the union's instructions on how it should be filled out. They tell you in a voice mail that they need to hear back from you by Friday. You return their call and leave messages, but Friday comes and they haven't called you back.

Several jobs that interest you pay about the same as what unemployment will pay. Maybe even less after taxes. The last two interviews I had were actually before I was "dismissed." Both were absolute disasters. I didn't hear back from them and it's been over a month. I can't say that I blame them. When you lay an egg that big, why would they call you back?

Hopefully it wasn't the gray hair and wrinkles that turned them off.

I found a job listing that really seems to be right up my alley. But it's in Portland and I live in Spokane. Telecommute the majority of time? I hope so, but I wouldn't be surprised if they would rather not go that route. Maybe that's the pessimist in me, or a premonition. But I don't take much stock in premonitions. I just don't feel that God wants me to move again.

I get encouragement from friends on Facebook. Not just "Facebook friends," but people I actually know and have met that just happen to be on Facebook. I always wondered how you could call someone a friend when you've never met them. Interesting... I feel that I have only had a couple of true friends in my life. One is Vern Fenton, the Pastor at Loomis Community Church in Loomis, WA. The other is Scott Manley, the Pastor at Flood the Sound Fellowship on Olympia's West Side. Of course, there's my first and foremost friend, my wife, Sharon, who is sticking with me through thick and thin.

I've got a project gig writing web content for a small Internet firm in Michigan, Blackdogz Internet. I enjoy writing, and it looks like I'm pretty good at it based on Sun's reaction to my latest submission. If you know of any writing projects that I could apply for, send them my way. I will be grateful... maybe not eternally, but for a very long time anyway!

I think I'll try to regularly blog my thoughts and experiences from the realm of the unemployed; hopefully to encourage someone else and let them know they are not alone. Maybe my fears, hopes and dreams aren't unique to me. Maybe there's a few other people going through the valley that can relate to my experiences. I hope I'm not unemployed for so long that I give up. I simply can't do that. I can't give up and I won't.

I like to eat in a dry place.

So for now, I sign off with a word of encouragement. Matthew 6:25-34 (NIV):

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life [or single cubit to his height]? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, "What shall we eat?" or "What shall we drink?" or "What shall we wear?" For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Pay Your Bills

A simple enough concept. But for some of us who procrastinate and are easily distracted by shiny objects, that concept can get lost; until the shut-off notice comes in the mail, or the guy comes to the door with a wrench in his hand for either payment or shut-off of the specific utility. In fact as I write this, I may lose my Internet connection. It's not something that I'm proud of.

So I created a budget spreadsheet.

I entered the net that I get paid, the estimated bills for the month, etc. I tied it all in with code and links and everything else the spreadsheet offered. And it looks cool. I used lots of color to show what is a utility, what is food, etc. And it has sat unused for months. It's like the life ring that gets tossed to a drowning man who then looks at it and says, “I'll use it when I need it.”


For all of you who are starting out life after leaving the nest, get a budget and stick to it! It's easier to track bills and what's left over each month. Planning is the key. I used to listen to Dave Ramsey on the radio regularly. I would fantasize about calling in to scream, “I'm debt free!” But you can't get there without a plan. That's my problem right now. I would think about calling in to relay my situation and ask for advice. But I've listened to him for so long that I know what he would say. So I don't call in. But I haven't followed through with what he would tell me. I mean... I make enough to live on. My wife doesn't have to work. So what's the problem? As the old saying goes, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”

Until now.

I have determined to drag out the old spreadsheet and start using it. It will be a bit painful at first because it will force me to see what is a need and what is a want. That's what's called “miscellaneous” in the budget. Our problem has been that we've been operating in the miscellaneous area. I'd almost liken it to the way the federal government is blowing our money. They can obviously get away with it. But my credit score is so bad I can't borrow anymore money. Nor should I. Plus I don't know anyone in China.

I have basically two major bills, totaling about $500 a month. Even with those bills, I would still be in the black by about $300 a month. So if I pay off those two bills, I'd have about $800 a month extra. This would allow me to prepare for emergencies, such as a $700 ticket for speeding and for no insurance. But because I haven't planned, a $700 ticket breaks me to the point where I have to make deals with utilities and my landlord. It's not right. It's not their fault. But they are affected by what I have done; or more correctly, what I haven't done. People talk about “social justice” and “fairness” and other such nonsense. Is it fair that I make the utility companies wait for payment of what I've used of their product? Is it fair that I make my landlord wait for the money I owe for living in his rental? Good grief, No!

Some things I could do with that extra cash? Give more to my church, start saving money for retirement, save up for a down payment on a house, save up to pay cash for whatever I want or need. If a car payment is, say, $350 a month for five years, why don't I save $350 a month for five years then pay cash for the car? Because it's been too easy to pay for stuff over time. And now that my credit score is shot, I can't even get a credit card. Which actually is a good thing because I know me... I would probably max it out in no time; justifying every purchase in my own feeble mind. Where are the Chinese when you need a loan? Oh wait... I'm not a government.


After filing for a bankruptcy in the past, you'd think I would have learned. As John Belushi used to say, “But nooooooooooo!” If I had learned, I wouldn't be living paycheck-to-paycheck. And it's no one's fault but my own. Not Wall Street, not Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, not Bush or Obama... it's me and me alone. I've learned that it's the responsibility of the individual, not the responsibility for government or anyone else, to bail me out. I hate being a grown-up because that means I have to act like one. Now at 52, I guess it's about time.

So now I must embark on the budgetary lifestyle. With spreadsheet in hand, I vow to live within my means and not short-change anyone. I vow to make sure the rent is paid on time. I vow to make sure the utilities are never in danger of being shut off. And I vow to keep my loving wife in Diet Coke so she never has to worry that she will run out. The bottom line, as Solomon said, is to fear God and honor the King. May I add:

Pay your bills.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Short Story: Time

I also created a short story on what I think is called an "ethereal" level. The libs in the class really enjoyed it, but might not have if they knew I was a conservative. Anyway, it's called "Time" and really reflects my thoughts at the... time. I edited it a bit for this post, but not much. If you ever read the original, you really wouldn't notice the changes.

As always, let me know what you think.



What is time? Almost anyone on the street would probably answer that it was 2:34, or something similar. That's as far as many go in understanding it. Not what is time, but what time is it? How can it be that we choose to measure its passing, yet still not understand it? Man, for the most part, has chosen to just accept the fact that what is, is. But there are others who look and wonder, “why?”

Early man noticed that the sun always came up in the east, and set in the west. In the spring, the days began to get longer and warmer; in the fall, the days grew shorter and colder. Upon further observation, he noticed that the days were the same length from year to year. Daylight hours contracted and expanded with each passing season. He began to keep track of the phases of the moon, the snows and the rains. Movie writers and directors constantly have Native Americans speaking about events that happened “many moons ago.” Different cultures, especially from the South Pacific, speak about “rains,” much as others use “moons.”

At one time, man was content to keep track of time on a large scale: moons, seasons, rains, etc. But, as man became more “civilized,” he began to break it down into weeks, days, hours and minutes. He developed the calendar, settling on a year being 12 months, each month divided into weeks, each week divided into seven days. In the early west, if a train was only a few hours late, it was considered to be almost on time. Now, if the Bronx subway is a couple of minutes late, the world comes to a stop. How is it that we as a species decided to further divide time from moons to seconds? Did we intend to gain more time in each day? Did we think that by keeping more precise track of time, we would somehow be able to expand our activities or cram more into each day?

When man first looked into the heavens and saw the design and symmetry of nature, he needed to find a way to somehow control what he was seeing and experiencing. Though he could not stop the sun from rising, he could not change the phases of the moon nor could he extend his favorite seasons, he set out to do the only thing that he could: he kept track of them. Days became knots in a cord, “moons” became notches in a stick or log and seasons became pictures on his tent. Change also became a large measure of time. At first, he did not notice that he himself was changing, but he noticed it in others. His children grew from infants to adults. His parents and grandparents grew old and feeble, then they died. This led to other questions. Questions such as, where did they go? Were they coming back soon? Were they only in a deep sleep? Upon looking into a still pond or slow moving river, he noticed that he, too, was going through changes. Hair began to grow gray, skin began to wrinkle and strength began to wane.

Today, man is trying to slow, if not halt, the march of time. Vitamin supplements proclaim that they contain the fountain of youth. Exercise clubs spout facts and figures about a healthy body. Advertisements bombard us with the belief that “you're not as young as you used to be,” or ladies, how about this one, “you're not 19 anymore.” Of course, knowing that we are “only here on this earth for a short while,”? (thanks, Cat) we take it all in and buy everything that promises long life, beautiful, youthful-looking skin and flat stomachs. Our watches tell us the time in seven different countries as well as our own. They also come with stopwatch features that can tell us down to the second how we are doing in relation to the accepted norm. Supervisors at work time how many keystrokes are performed in a given amount of time. Printing presses are run to produce a certain number of impressions per hour. Television and radio commercials are timed to the second.

When a child is four, a year seems like an eternity. But to us, it's not that long (though it may feel like it sometimes!). Remember, the child is four years old, and a year is 25 percent of his life. His parents, who are 33, experience that same year as only three percent of their lives. Remember our parents, who said that time flies by faster the older you get? Think about it. When you're 50, a year is two percent of your life. At 66, a year is 1 1/2 percent. They're right, aren't they? If you were to speak with older folks, and ask them if they have any regrets, many may say something along the lines of, “I only wish I would have spent my time more wisely.” It may be in respect to things that they wish they could have done earlier in their lives, or it could be that they regret not getting to know their children better, before it was too late.

As we grow up, change seems to occur gradually. One day, we're stretching to reach the top of the refrigerator, the next we're getting things from the top shelf for mom because she's too short. Dad would teach us how to throw a baseball, then one day he was begging to cut down the distance because he couldn't throw that far. Girls were the yuckiest things on the face of the earth; but now, when one winks our way, we melt and seem to float on air. It seems like only yesterday that we were riding our bikes with our buddies, just knowing that it was going to last forever. But usually our life-long friends of youth drift away as circumstances and other events intercede in our lives. Finally we are adults. One day, we look down in our arms and see a small, wrinkled face with big eyes staring at us. The cycle of life has begun again. As we once were, now our children are. Small, helpless, fully dependent on us for everything, they begin to experience what we went through as children. We see their hurts as they grow, we feel for them as they learn the hard way. But in them, we see ourselves as we once were: small, helpless, fully dependent on our parents for everything. We once thought we knew it all, and the advice from Mom and Dad fell on deaf ears. Yet now, we can see that Mom and Dad weren't so wrong after all. And the slow, steady beat of time continues.

Time is precious. As parents, we shoot hundreds of pictures of our children each year, and still wish we would have taken more. Why? It's because we realize that time is short, and our children are only young for a few years. Every year, at school picture time, it's like pulling teeth to get the kids to wear something nice and to comb their hair for the picture. They have no idea of the value that parents place on such things. We didn't when we were that age, did we? If you're honest, you'd have to agree. But now that we are older, we appreciate these things more than ever.

Remember the picture of Uncle Matt at the family reunion? We always thought he was a little weird, but that lampshade was the clincher! Have you ever thought about what a picture really is? Oh, not the paper, chemicals or camera that are used; but what it represents. A camera is a light-tight box with a light-sensitive film in the back of the box that is exposed to a controlled burst of light that throws an image on the film. The image is then developed and we get the negative from which the picture is produced. It may seem too technical, but basically, that's what it is. The exposure is set, f-stops are determined with a light-meter, and the picture is taken. Take out some of your oldest photos and look at them. See? There's Grandma, there's Grandpa, there's Mom as a child. What you are looking at is a fraction of a second of light that was captured on a piece of celluloid, then transferred to a sheet of paper. A fraction of time itself is caught on that piece of film. Grandma has long since passed away, yet here she is in all of her youthful exuberance. Time has been brought to a standstill by a simple box. Behind her stands the old clock that had been in her family for 30 years. It's broken now; pieces are stored in several boxes in the attic. The old, gray cat that would rub on your legs, but scratch you if you petted it, is curled up on the sofa that was sold at the estate sale when Grandpa passed away. But here, for 1/25th of a second, they are once again whole and alive. For 1/25th of a second, they are here to enjoy again.

Time. “Time marches on,” “Time and tide wait for no man,” or so they say. Seasons change: the long, hot nights of summer give way to the cool days of fall, which defer to the icy mornings of winter, which in turn relinquish control to the gentle breezes of spring, which turn again into the long, hot nights of summer. The sun and moon march relentlessly across the sky. The constellations, whose courses were charted long before man arrived, travel from horizon to horizon in their nightly journeys. It has been that way for centuries past and will be again for many more to come.

Take a few moments to sit and contemplate your own special time. Think of your children, your parents and grandparents. Revel in your own personal history, because no one else has lived it the way you have. Think of all the good times, as well as the bad. Whether you realize it or not, you have learned from each and every experience. Take the time to remove your watch (no one really cares what time it is in Tokyo, anyway) and turn your calendar to the wall. Turn off your television and radio for a few moments. Then close your eyes and travel back to a time when you were young and carefree. Mom and Dad took care of everything; they always did. Time isn't your enemy, it is your friend.

Man may need clocks and calendars, but the animals know what season they're in. Witness the migration of the birds, the hibernation of the bear and the color change of the wild rabbit. The elk mate in the fall and give birth in the spring. Everything happens in sequence, everything happens in order. The order of time.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Short Story: Mom's

In college I was pretty good at creative writing. At least that's what my English 101 instructor told me. My Technical Writing professor, Dr. Ruth Berg, thought my technical writing was also pretty good. I got an "A" in both classes. So in the interest of curing some boredom, I'm posting stories that I got an "A" on. It's original title was "Aren't You Hungry?" but I thought I'd release it as simply... "Mom's."

Let me know what you think.



Truckers often talk of “white-line fever,” and I had a bad case. Weaving from lane to lane, alternately dodging and then smashing the “road turtles” that live on the white center lines, I managed to bring my 18-wheeler to a stop at a small, roadside eatery.  Though I'd been down this road many times, I don't ever remember seeing the place before.  As I slid out of the cab, I felt a sense of impending doom.

“Mom's” was the only sign over the door.  Usually there would also be a neon “Budweiser” or “Coors” sign in one of the windows, but there weren't any.  Not even an “Olympia.”  Only faded, red-and-white checked curtains adorned them. The front of the building was weather-beaten, and there was evidence of a porch that once existed long ago.  As I approached, I noticed that my rig was the only vehicle in the dimly lit parking lot.  Off to my left was a rusted out hulk that may have once been a '57 Ford pickup.  When I opened the front door, strains of an Elvis tune greeted my ears, something about “...and now, the end is near...”  My common sense was suggesting that I leave, but the rumbling of my stomach drowned out any rational thoughts.

The room was hazy and dimly lit, much like the parking lot.  Not a soul was in sight, save for a plump, old woman behind the counter.

“Howdy, Sweetie,” she said in a high-pitched, raspy voice.  “Haven't seen you 'round here before.  You new in town?”  One look at her smile told me that her dentist was probably a jackhammer operator, and definitely nonunion.

“No, not really.  I drive by here often but I just haven't had the time to stop in.”  Through the haze I could see a small jukebox against the far wall, obviously where Elvis was hiding.  But that odor!  Where was it coming from?

“Jes' tell me when yer ready to order, Honey,” she wheezed.

Each table had two chairs, one salt or pepper shaker and a faded, red-and-white checked table cloth that matched the curtains.  Right in the center of my table was an old candle-in-a-glass; only it was burned all the way down, with dust and cobwebs where the candle should have been.

“You lookin' fer a menu?” she asked.  “Looky over yonder on that table.”  I smiled and rose to get it.  Suddenly without warning, the chair gave way and splintered into a thousand pieces.  The plump one didn't even flinch.

“Oh, that's ok,” she said as she wiped a glass.  “They's always bustin' down like that.  Orville never would get new ones.”  Common sense once again prodded me to leave, whether gracefully or not.  However, the ever-increasing feeling of hunger kept me glued to what was left of my seat.  After dusting myself off, I found another chair and finally had the menu in hand.  It took three tries to open it, but finally I peeled the pages apart.  Totally illegible because of the grease, I decided to keep it simple.

“I'll have a cheeseburger, fries and a Coke.”  Surely there was something as simple as that on the menu... somewhere.

I tried to put it down but I couldn't get it unstuck from my fingers. As I worked on removing the offensive literature, I felt something brush past my leg.  “Don't look, don't look,” I said to myself.  “It's probably just the pet cat,” at least I hoped that's all it was.  As I sat thinking about the rest of my trip, I was snapped out of my daydream by a large splatt!  She was killing flies with the spatula!  My only hope was that she had cooked my burger before committing “insecticide.” At last, she brought the food out.

“Bone Appy-tite!” she squeaked.

I had to admit, it did look half-way appetizing.  The “burger” was cooked, at least it was brown.  The french fries smelled ok, though they looked like they were boiled in motor oil.  Then there was the Coke.  Now, how could she possibly screw up a Coke?  Whether canned, bottled or fountain, Coke was Coke, right?  I took the “burger” in both hands, and with fear and trepidation, moved it towards my mouth.  A trickle of sweat rolled slowly down my forehead. My mouth was watering, but then so were my eyes.  Finally, I took a bite.
If you took a hamburger patty dipped in sand and deep-fried, it would be very close to the experience of that “cheeseburger.”  My stomach, which only moments earlier had been screaming for a bite, was now screaming to return that bite from whence it came.

“Good, ain't it?” the plump one asked.

I managed a weak smile and a courteous nod of the head.  My stomach screamed for some relief.  The fries!  The fries!  No, not the fries, the Coke! I'll try the Coke first!  One mouthful told me there was a way to screw up a glass of Coke.

Noticing that I hadn't swallowed yet, she squeaked, “Oh, the ice maker's busted, so we just put cold water in instead.”

My head was spinning, my stomach was churning and my mouth was watering.  I could think of only two things; getting out, and getting out now!  I reached for the check on the table, but it was stuck to the menu.  I left a dollar tip—it also stuck to the menu—and made my way to the counter.

As she rang up the total, she asked, “Would ye like a mint?”  Before I could respond, she reached into her apron and pulled out three small, unwrapped blobs of chocolate.

While she was picking off the lint, I left a $10.00 bill on the counter, mumbled something about “keep the change,” and made my way to the door.  As it opened, a bright light blinded me so much that I had to shield my eyes.

Sweat was pouring off me as I gripped the wheel tighter.  I was shaking like a leaf!  Then I realized that I had fallen asleep at the wheel.  Other truckers were flashing their brights at me, sounding their horns and calling to me on the CB.  I couldn't believe it!  The whole thing was a dream!  Now that I was once again awake and alert, I decided it would be a good idea to find someplace to eat and maybe get some coffee into my system.  Up ahead was a small, roadside diner.  When I pulled into the empty parking lot, I thought to myself, “Gee, this place looks familiar.”  As I slid out of the cab, I felt a sense of de-ja vu.

“Mom's” was the only sign over the door...

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Youth Football

I'm involved with Pop Warner in the Cheney area. My specific group is called the Mitey Mite Division, and consists of 7, 8 and 9 year old kids. We are the Eagles! Right now we're 0-2 (27-0 and 27-0) after playing the top two teams in our division. Me and my coaches are working to help them get better. Our first goal was reached, we got a first down. Now our next goal is to get into the end zone, then to win a game.

Helping the kids to have fun is the primary reason I coach. But it's a lot more fun when you're making visible progress and finally winning a few games. Coaches that make "winning at all costs" their goal at this age level are idiots. For example
  • To win a championship at this age really means a lot on one's resume. (sarcasm intended). 
  • College scholarships are not awarded at this age. 
  • College and/or pro coaching positions are not handed out based on the number of youth championships one has "earned."

According to the statistics I've learned over the years, 70% of the kids who participate in youth sports drop out by age 13 because of bad coaching and pressure placed on them by parents.

Which leads me to another fact. In my 20 years of youth coaching the number one problem has been... drum roll please... parents. Please insert any name in place of "my kid."
  • "My kid isn't getting enough playing time." (A parent who used a stopwatch to time her kid's playing time versus the other kids on the team.)
  • "Why isn't my kid the quarterback?" (Happens almost every season)
  • "My kid is so much better than the one you have in that spot, so you're a crappy coach because you don't see it." (A parent who was upset because her kid was promised a starting spot the previous season by the retired coach. The other kid was bigger, faster and stronger. Her kid played, just not as much.)
  • "The high school coach wants my kid to play running back. How come he's a lineman?" (An obvious bunch of crap because, in truth, high school coaches don't care about 7, 8 and 9 year old football.)
  • "My kid wants to quit because practices are boring. He wants to run plays, not have you guys show the linemen what to do." (A parent who never understood that coaching is not limited to his kid, but to all players on the offense.)
  • "My kid is a left tackle" (From a parent who's kid made the 6th Grade All Star Team.)
  • "You are punishing my kid! He was under the impression that he was 'the man!'" (This from a parent who was upset that their kid didn't get to carry the ball more. Never mind that the kid played 38 out of 40 minutes.)
I could go on, but I believe there's a limit to the number of characters I can post. But I think you get the picture.

Another problem is parents who want to coach so that their kids get to be "the star" on the team. These ego maniacs get their buddies to help them coach so that all of their kids can start and be selected to the All Star team. I've seen kids completely embarrassed by this. They know they're not All Star caliber, yet they are placed into that situation by their dads. One year I had a kid on an All Star team I was coaching come up to me and tell me he knew he didn't belong there. So we talked about it and he agreed he'd play, but not as much as some of the better players. So after he started and was pulled shortly afterward, his dad unloaded on me with cussing and name-calling. Thank God I haven't had to deal with that since. I never coached my own son, and actually coached against him one season. I have always had great assistant coaches and do so again this season.

I'm in this for the kids. Sometimes I'm too soft, but I started out as a hard-ass idiot who was looking to be the next Vince Lombardi. I ran off a kid in my first season because of my attitude. His mom came up to me and told me she couldn't let her kid play for me because I was so unreasonable and driving the kids too hard. She was right. A couple of years later I experienced a life-changing event that showed me just how stupid I had become. These are kids and... wait for it... wait for it... this is a GAME! It's not life-or-death, and it's not war like some coaches talk about. War is when some one is shooting at you with the intent to kill you. I haven't seen that yet in youth sports. But I'm sure some parents have wanted to throttle me. I try to be realistic. If I was such a great coach, why am I coaching little kids and not at a higher level? I realize that I'm not a great coach, but I like to think I'm a good coach.

So I'll try to keep up with informing everyone about the progress of the Mitey Mite Eagles of the West Plains Pop Warner Football Association. After kind of bashing youth sports parents, I want to finish by saying this is the best and most supportive group of parents I've ever had in my years of coaching. Hopefully this will finally be the year when I don't have a parent come up to me after the season to "rip me a new one." As long as they come to me with concerns as they come up and not let them fester for the year, I think things will work out OK.

Go Eagles!