One of my favorite leadership stories that my daughter wrote is her
story of how she didn’t let a leader destroy her confidence and her
ability to overcome adversity.
The feeling of knowing how good you can be yet not being able to show it is something I have experienced all too often. All for reasons that are not reasonable. All because I am not coach’s favorite. I have learned over the years that other people’s opinion of you doesn’t change your ability or talents. Even though people make you feel so small you just need to move on and not worry about it.
Here I am, sitting on the bench, once again, trying not to feel anger toward my coach. I go to practice early and even stay after late, yet I am not recognized because I am not coach’s favorite. Being coach’s favorite means that you have to suck up and pretend how great he is. Or you just have to have rich parents, which I lack in both of those departments. Remembering that I have been on the high school softball team since I was in seventh grade reminds me that I’m not lacking in my skill, just my popularity. So here I am sitting on this freezing bench doing nothing as I listen to my fellow pitcher complain to coach that her arm is getting sore. Yet she wants to keep playing.
On my softball team there are two pitchers; me and someone else. So as I listen to my fellow pitcher complain that her arm is sore coach is basically telling her that if she wants to keep pitching that is fine but to suck it up. I would tell someone to keep in mind that she has had stress fractures in her arm in the past and therefore that advice is very terrible. He should have told her to not pitch in order to save her arm. I am that person coach knows is there but hopes he doesn’t have to acknowledge. Therefore him realizing I am here as a backup pitcher probably isn’t going to happen. As I am feeling more frustration towards my coach I ask the assistant coach if I could warm up pitching, or if I could help my fellow pitcher out with anything. They both basically respond with silence. Back to the bench I go.
All of a sudden in between innings our third baseman starts throwing up and asking if she can stop playing. My main positions are pitcher, third base, and first base. Coach responds to our third baseman with, “Lace, we have nobody else are you really that sick??” Well, that was a slap in the face and I almost feel like leaving right now. But I am not one to let people get the best of me in situations. So I just sit there patiently hoping that coach will stop caring what others think and let me play. Coach doesn’t want to offend our pitcher by putting me in and he doesn’t want the parents to get upset if I start playing in better positions. I am being put down due to the fact that I am not a popular person or have overly rich parents. So I sit through this whole game by only playing my required one inning.
Awards night is when each of the teams get together to have a dinner while each coach talks about their players. Also during this time the coaches give out the letters and pins along with other awards the players can receive. Players can receive awards such as defensive player of the players can receive awards such as defensive player of the year, most improved, offensive player of the year, most sportsmanship, and so on. The coaches choose who gets what award, but the letters and pins are awarded to those who were on varsity no matter what. As my sophomore year in high-school, this is my first full year on the varsity team.
I am feeling a bit unexcited as it is my teams turn to go stand up front for our awards and letters. Coach is consecutively going from one girl in line to the next talking about how they did this year. Commenting on what they did well, what they did bad, how they can improve, and his favorite part of the season with them. Also at this time coach is giving each girl her awards and letter if needed. As coach is approaching me I’m starting to wonder what words he will say about me. Wondering if he was just being tough on me because it was my first year or if he would point out what I need to do better for him for next year.
Coach is being so thoughtful to each girl and giving such good advice to each. So I am expecting at least that from him for me. But instead when coach gets to me the only things he say are, “This is Brookes first year with us on varsity and we were glad to have her.” Then he moved on. He didn’t stop and give me my letter like he did with the others. He didn’t present me any awards. I got nothing. Again, I wanted to leave just then, but remembered I probably shouldn’t. I’m sure everyone noticed what happened; it couldn’t have been just me that realized. I know my parents must have noticed.
So as I am going up to coach after awards night is over I’m practicing what I am going to say. I begin to ask him why he didn’t recognize me getting my letter and why I didn’t receive it. He replied that when he was ordering the letters he missed counting me but I should be receiving it soon. Then he just walked away from me. This goes to show me that coach doesn’t really care about me. I am not going to let this bother me though. I am just going to move on because I’m sure coach wants me to quit and feel offended. That doesn’t mean I have to feel that way though. I am not going to let his opinion get the best of me.
I received my letter approximately four or five months after this incident and I’m sure the only reason I ever got it was because I called him almost every other week asking about it. He didn’t bring me my letter when he got it. I had to go and meet him wherever he was at. I feel that the only reason I was treated this way from my coach that year was because of favoritism. He didn’t’ want to offend his favorite players by putting me into pitch or play better positions. I didn’t have the rich parents and I definitely didn’t suck up to him. Yes I showed him respect and was never rude, but I wasn’t going to act like the others towards him.
Favoritism is overlooked in my opinion and mostly within sports. A player may have great potential and may be even better than the starters, but coach doesn’t want to offend the starting players. Favoritism can really hurt people if they are on the receiving end of it like I was. I would let someone know to move on and not let someone’s opinion of you make you think that you are not good enough because odds are you’re probably really great.
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