I Was A Victim Of Bullying

March 13, 2013 in Parenting


Bullying (Photo credits: www.mysecuritysign.com)

“You’re a fucking whiner, just like your son!”

Hard to believe but, that statement was actually screamed at me the other day by my son’s basketball coach. A man who is 40-something years-old. For the first time, I was the victim of bullying today. By an adult.

Here’s the gist of what happened:

I was watching a playoff basketball game with 10 kids playing.

As mandated by the league, when you have 10 kids participating, all must have equal playing time. Five kids play the first half of each quarter, five kids play the second half of each quarter. Easy. And certainly not hard to remember if you’re a coach.

[And just to be clear, this is REC basketball, not travel or varsity where the lesser-skilled players may sit the bench. I have an older son who has played on teams like this, where you have to prove yourself to earn more playing time. It can be a tough nut to swallow, but you do.]

For the third time this season, the coach opted to NOT put my son in for half of the final quarter that he was designated to play. Instead, he kept his own son in the game.

Asshole move?

Of course.

And, since this was the third time he pulled such a stunt this season, I felt he should know that I was disappointed that he was breaking league rules yet again. I double-checked with my husband about the rules, since he was also a league coach for another team. He was also there for part of the game, but had to leave with my other son. Before he left, I made sure he was okay with me talking to the coach afterwards. The game ended and I first asked my son if he wanted me to talk to his coach about what so blatantly happened. He answered with a resounding, “yes!”

I’ll admit I was heated and may have had an accusatory tone, but I also know I was reasonable. Bottom line is he broke the rules and needed to be called out.

Instead of apologizing or even calmly denying it, he went ballistic and screamed at me.

“You can check the books, everyone played equally!!”

When I calmly explained to him that I did not need to check the books because I was there for the entire game and saw with my own eyes that everyone did NOT play equally, that was when he slammed both my son and me with his choice words.

“You’re a fucking whiner, just like your son!”

After I picked my jaw up from the gym floor, I replied, “I cannot believe you just said that to me.”

To which he then started to mimic me, by gesticulating with his arms, squishing his face and imitating my voice.

I felt like I was staring back at a four-year old in a man’s body.

The other coach then stepped between us and apologized for his co-coach’s behavior. I walked away and told him I was filing a formal complaint to the league commissioner to make sure he never coached again.

When we were safely in our car, my son then told me that when he was playing during the game, the coach did not like his body language and had hissed to him, “stop your damn whining!” 

I can handle the insults and the screaming, even if it was grossly inappropriate. 

What I can’t take is, knowing that this man is coaching kids in a rec league, that he thinks it’s okay to favor players, to scream insults at them, and to treat parents with utter disrespect. My son and his sports-playing peers should not have to withstand such behavior from anyone, let alone their coach.

My husband has coached both youth baseball and basketball teams for many years. He volunteers his time because he loves to teach his two favorite sports and loves to watch his own children, as well as others, develop their skills. Does he like to win? Of course, what coach doesn’t?  But, when he coaches a rec team, he knows that you can’t focus on the outcome so much as the team spirit, the skill-building and instilling an attitude of trying your hardest. 

Through all his coaching, my husband has dealt with annoying parents, the parents who want their kid to play pitcher or catcher or the parents who constantly email him with questions. And he also has dealt with the whiny kids, kids with disabilities, kids who don’t really want to be there, kids who cry every time they lose, kids who constantly get injured, the list goes on. But guess what? That’s part of the territory. When you coach a youth rec team, it’s more than just coaching. You need to have the patience of a saint, and if you don’t, it’s not for you. Period. 

I realized today that had I been a father who went up to him after the game, the coach’s belligerent response would not have happened. I’m pretty sure that if my husband complained to him, he wouldn’t have called him a “fucking whiner.” And I’m definitely sure that had he done so, my husband would not have walked away.

I was frightened by this man today. Frightened that he could react that way, frightened that he was so enraged I could tell he wanted to hit me, frightened that he is a father, and most of all frightened that he is a coach to children in my community.

It’s bad enough we have to worry about bullying in our schools. I never would have dreamed I’d have to worry about it on the playing fields too. From an adult, no less.

I may or may not be a “fucking whiner” but I’m damn sure I’m not going to tolerate a bully. I used to think that bullies should be ignored, but I gotta say, there are times when you need to fight back, and this was one of them. I may have been emotional, but I needed to advocate for my son and any other boys this man may coach. It’s truly absurd that this happened over 7th grade rec basketball. I’m not sure what it says about youth sports and the handful of the crazy-ass parents who are involved. All I know is I’m glad I stood up for what was right, even if it meant I had to deflect a few harsh words.

P.S. The League responded swiftly and with appropriate action. That was the last game that bully will ever coach.


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{ 65 comments… read them below or add one }

Dorothy Handelman March 13, 2013 at 9:01 am

Dear Emily.
Wow! Your experience with the coach sounds like a character assault on…you. Glad you pursued your concern to a higher authority- the coach in questions sounds like he’s volunteering his time in the wrong place for his personality. I’ve just spent an enjoyable interlude reading your blog- great work! I am the parents of three teens and am in the throes of trying to maintain my sanity. I blog myself so check it out when you have a minute-
Wishing you great success with all your endeavors!


ohboymom March 13, 2013 at 12:39 pm

Thanks so much and yes, that man should not be coaching, period. Thanks so much for finding and reading my blog…will definitely check out yours too!


Sharon March 13, 2013 at 9:01 am

I’m so sorry you went through that, Emily. But you’ve performed a public service by getting him out of coaching!


ohboymom March 13, 2013 at 12:36 pm

Thanks Sharon. I did what any of us would have done to protect our kids.


grownandflown March 13, 2013 at 9:03 am

Emily, I am appalled hearing about this man’s horrible behavior to you and your son and his awful show of unsportsmanlike behavior in front of the team of young boys. Our family was involved for many years in youth sports for both kids and my husband coached travel and rec teams. Fortunately, the nutcases were far and few between but when they created problems, like this man did, the right response was to do what you did and the league, too. And, yes, I wonder if he would have reacted toward your husband like he did toward you. The good thing is he won’t have the chance to do so to anyone, again. So sorry for you and your son.


ohboymom March 13, 2013 at 12:38 pm

Thanks, I appreciate it. I too wonder if the scenario would have been different had my husband been there. I’m pretty certain it would have been. The league responded quickly and appropriately and that’s what matters most.


Stephanie @ Mommy, for real. March 13, 2013 at 9:05 am

Emily, well done. For as emotional as you are over this, this post was NOT a rant. It was clearly articulated, right-on, and extremely powerful. I am so proud of you for handling it the way you did, and thank God the League acted appropriately. Good for you, mama.


ohboymom March 13, 2013 at 12:34 pm

The first draft of the post WAS a rant, but I showed it to a few people and toned it down…glad it didn’t come off that way. Thanks so much for your support…I did what any of us rational parents would do.


Janine Huldie March 13, 2013 at 9:08 am

This was just awful treatment and so glad they canned him. sounds like he was a real ass and got what he deserved. It wasn’t coaching, but this past weekend when Emma was sick the on call pediatrician was very rude pretty much bullying me about the amount of medicine I did or did not give Emma (she had a 104.4 fever). Kevin had left the room to use the restroom. Amazingly when she came back in the room after he returned her whole attitude changed. So, in some ways I can relate to this and I too felt terrible and she pretty much made me cry, which now angers me when I think about it! No one should act like this and bullying is truly unacceptable anywhere and anytime!


ohboymom March 13, 2013 at 12:36 pm

Wow, that does sound like a similar situation with the Dr. It’s crazy that a person who is supposed to look out for our kids, whether a coach or a dr., can behave so poorly.(I would have cried too, but remember you’re a great mom and don’t let anyone make you ever think otherwise.)


Roger Mitty March 13, 2013 at 10:22 am

Sounds like this oaf completely lost sight of the purpose of youth sports, particularly in the Rec leagues. Make the kids feel good about themselves, develop a love of the game and what teamwork is all about.


ohboymom March 13, 2013 at 12:28 pm

So true! But unfortunately, he is one of those crazy, competitive sports parents that should not be coaching in a rec league, or really any league for that matter.


ohboymom March 13, 2013 at 12:33 pm

Yes, this guy was one of those crazy, competitive sports parents that should not have been coaching a rec team, or really any team for that matter…thanks for commenting bro!


Kristi Campbell March 13, 2013 at 10:32 am

Emily, wow…I am in shock that a coach – FOR KIDS!!! – was so blatantly mean and horrible to you. It’s unbelievable. I’m so glad that you shared this story with us and I’m so proud of you for getting him kicked off of the team. I wonder what would have happened had your husband approached him. I’m SO glad that he won’t coach again. Wow. Good for you.
And (!) that man’s poor kids…can you imagine what he says to them when they don’t do as he wants them to??? Too bad we can’t take away his right to parent as well.


ohboymom March 13, 2013 at 12:26 pm

I agree, I think of his kids and feel lots of pity.


Mary Anne F51 March 13, 2013 at 11:03 am

You go girl-knew you’d fix that!


Julie DeNeen March 13, 2013 at 12:18 pm

You Go! I would have drop kicked him in the balls and ended up in jail. The way you handled it was much better!


ohboymom March 13, 2013 at 12:25 pm

Oh Julie, I was sooo close to doing that! My mom is from the Bronx and she says I’ve inherited her “Bronx genes” and was surprised I didn’t go more nuts on him.


Amy March 13, 2013 at 12:22 pm

I am so glad to hear that he will not be coaching anymore! I’m sorry you and your son had to go through that. I think you handled it perfectly. I’m not sure that I would have been able to remain calm.


ohboymom March 13, 2013 at 12:24 pm

Thanks Amy…I wouldn’t say I was “calm”, more like shocked!


Stacy Harris March 13, 2013 at 12:25 pm

I am absolutely appalled by this but happy to hear the team took swift action to rectify the situation. I don’t care what the situation is… you NEVER should talk to an adult your don’t really know. Seriously people need to have some respect!


Carie March 13, 2013 at 1:58 pm

WOW! My son, who is 17, used to play rec basketball as well. Their teams were co-ed. We had a coach who’s daughter played opposite my sons team on one occasion and believe it or not he allowed her to stomp her feet and act like an immature child most of the games. She even “bullied” the other kids and pushed them down because she was double their size.

Congrats on doing the right thing and I’m glad that man isn’t coaching children any longer.


ohboymom March 13, 2013 at 3:56 pm

Yikes, that also sounds like a bad situation of bullying. Thanks for reading and commenting!


One Funny Motha March 13, 2013 at 2:17 pm

I can’t believe he said that to you. But I have heard horror stories about kids’ sports teams with the coaches yelling curses either at or in a speech to the kids. And that’s in 5th grade. It’s awful. Let’s all get one thing straight. It’s not the NFL.


ohboymom March 13, 2013 at 3:55 pm

Totally agree and it’s crazy that this kind of stuff happens at the younger grade levels too!


Jessica Smock March 13, 2013 at 6:05 pm

I am so horrified that he said that to you! As an educator for most of my adult life, I know that this is simply inexcusable. Teachers, coaches, educators of all types always will have disagreements or differences in style with parents. But speaking that way to ANY ONE — adult, child — is awful. I’m so sorry you had to experience this!


ohboymom March 13, 2013 at 11:14 pm

Thanks…I’m just glad it’s over and that he was banned from coaching.


Melanie Chisnall March 14, 2013 at 12:25 am

I’m so angry reading this post! I can’t believe there are people like that out there dealing with children. Coaching a sport is supposed to be about giving back, teaching, and enjoying the sport. What a disgusting little man. Well done for the way you handled it and for filing it formally as a complaint. I would have done the exact same thing. I’m so glad he was banned – he deserved it.


ohboymom March 14, 2013 at 3:17 pm

I agree Melanie and was just thankful he won’t be coaching kids in that league anymore.


Rich Rumple March 14, 2013 at 6:20 am

Some people just can’t handle power. It’s my guess this individual thought himself to be of professional caliber and should be coaching college. He reminds me of the small town cop that used to be picked on when he was a kid, so now, his badge gives him the right to get back at everyone. These are stupid, silly, and ridiculous individuals that are so full of themselves they lose all perspective of what their role really is. Good for you! Actually, I’m glad it was you handling it instead of me. I’d have probably decked the asshole! Great job!


ohboymom March 14, 2013 at 3:16 pm

Ha – Rich my husband said the same thing that it was probably better off he wasn’t there! And I agree, his perspective was completely out of whack. I hope he realizes it some day!


Jack Kirin March 14, 2013 at 11:59 am

Dear Emily, I had the pleasure of coaching my two boys and two girls many years ago. In all those years, only one time was I confronted by a mother who spit out the F bombs to me that would make a truck driver jealous!! She picked the time and place carefully so there was no witness. She complained about how I played her son (12) in a previous baseball game. He was an unruly spoiled brat that thought he would do what he pleased so I didn’t start him and sat his ass on the bench. Its important to remember, I had warned him several times that if he continued to misbehave he wouldn’t start the next game. He did play the required amount of innings, where I chose to put him. After her tirade, I called all the parents and reminded them if their son didn’t behave he would be punished by not starting. None of the parents found fault with that, in fact, many parents in the community hoped their boys would be on my team. Because of mommy, junior didn’t start the next game either! Unfortunately, there are some jerks in the world and you and I were confronted by two of the worse. Good for you that Mr Personality got dumped!!


ohboymom March 14, 2013 at 3:20 pm

Thanks so much for sharing your experiences too. You sound like you handled a difficult situation in just the right way. I agree that coaching can be the toughest job out there — especially because you are dealing with both the kids and the parents. I am one of the quiet parents on the sidelines, but in this case, I knew I had to step forward and not let this coach break the rules anymore. Thanks you again for reading and commenting – I appreciate your thoughts!


Michael March 14, 2013 at 2:57 pm

Your account of what happened certainly portrays the Dad/Coach as out of control, obnoxious and rude. What he said to you definitely warrants getting the boot from coaching and you were well w/in your rights to give him a verbal dressing down.

On the flip side, here are additional thoughts that I have on your post; I too have been a volunteer coach for my two boys(16 & 13), throughout the years for baseball, soccer & basketball, as well as an assistant leader for their Cub/Boy scouting involvement.

For the most part it has been a pleasure to help teach the kids, work with other volunteer parents and give back to my community by volunteering. It’s fair to say I’m ambivalent about the kids winning or losing games. I focus more on teaching good sportsmanship, learning and having fun. Kids, for the most part, put enough emphasis on winning w/o needing an over the top coach push that need.

My biggest challenge and pet peeve is usually out of control parents who are coaching or criticizing from the sidelines or the back of the room or calling a coach at home or emailing a coach to complain about their kids playing time or feeling that they need to step in and stick up for their kid if he/she felt slighted or pushed around or some other unfair treatment. I’m not just talking about personal experiences, which I have had a handful over the years, but also numerous stories shared with me by other volunteer coaches I’ve worked with or know through our community.

Let’s remember that these “coaches” are parents who are Volunteering and stepping up where others are not willing or able. Yes, Park District and little leagues have rules/guidelines about balanced playing time. i will tell you that for most leagues these are guidelines more than rigid rules. I completely disagree with your statement that managing playing time and making it equal for every kid is NOT “easy”. Try coaching a basketball game and you will know exactly what I mean.

Since I’m assuming this Dad was a volunteer then as a parent you have a responsibility to let go of your helicopter parenting instincts and put this in proper perspective. If you really feel strongly that every kid should get exactly the same number of minutes/seconds on the floor than you should coach! Then you have earned the right to be the ultimate decision maker during the game action. Respect the fact that this Dad took the time to organize the team, communicate to all the players, put the game time player plan together, organize practices and try to teach the kids. if you have a legitimate beef then you should have taken it up with the league manager, not the coach, who remember is just a volunteer parent. I suspect you let your ‘protect my kid’ instincts get the best of you and as you already suggested, you probably came off as angry and confrontational. That doesn’t excuse his behavior!

I’m currently taking a parenting(teenagers) class with my wife through our school district. there are about 60 couples in this class and it has been an incredible eye opening experience for us. The stories being shared and the guidance from our instructor are wonderful and hopefully is helping us to navigate through many of the challenges we all face as parents, especially with teens!

Some of the best sage advice I’m getting is to avoid trying to fix every wrong. Kids need to know we are there for them, but we should also allow them to work out their problems on their own, so they become stronger individuals as they grow up and face a world that is not always fair and that does require problem solving and coping skills.

You might have satisfied your own emotional need to rescue your son who felt wronged or slighted, however you may have done him a disservice too by not helping him to cope with those feelings on his own. I also have a 7th grader and it’s a tough age to go through and their emotions are all over the place. However, high self-esteem is something that they need in order to function in our world. Let your son fail sometimes. let him pick himself up, stick up for himself and solve his problems w/o your direct involvement. he will benefit far more than coming to his rescue!


ohboymom March 14, 2013 at 3:15 pm

Thank you for taking the time to read and comment on my post. I actually agree with everything you said. I would like to point out that I am probably one of the quietest parents on the sidelines and have never talked to a coach before this time. The fact that he broke league rules three times in favor of his own son made me step forward. I agree that my son should fail sometimes, and learn to stick up for himself. But, in this case I think parent intervention was necessary. And yes, my husband has coached basketball for years so I know how involved scheduling line-ups and playing time can be. In this particular case, it was easy because there were exactly 10 players and the ref stopped the clock at the half way mark in each quarter to ask for subs. 5 and 5 – easy. I really do appreciate you commenting and think you’ve made some great points. Bottom line is the coach’s behavior was horrific and from what I found out, there was an “incident” with him last year as well. Clearly, he should be coaching a travel team, not a rec one, although frankly I don’t think he has the patience to coach either. And by the way, I also attend a parenting class — it’s invaluable to us too! Thank you again for commenting – I do appreciate your thoughts.


Michael March 14, 2013 at 3:40 pm

My pleasure. Thanks for sharing your parenting experience.


Michael March 14, 2013 at 3:45 pm

I thought I would share this with your readers. This is from our Teen Parenting class instructor:

Remember all you really need to know is often right there in front of you if you take a moment to STOP! LOOK! and LISTEN!
So here are a few points to remember from our session together:

Forgiveness of yourself and others
Forgiveness is a conscious act, a rational decision – not a virtue
Parenting – who am I? doormat / friend – dictator / authoritarian – effective / authoritative
Discipline not punishment
Proactive as much as possible
Deep breathe
Discipline in a rational mode, not a limbic mode
Ask questions and listen to what they say
Educate yourself on key issues and topics
Be short but sweet; 2-3 minutes
Balance sensitivity with firmness
Laugh and smile
Take time out for yourself
Write a letter of encouragement – don’t expect acknowledgment or Response
Let go of issues that are making you miserable (more on this next week)

So there you have it! I’ve been pretty short but sweet……haven’t I?
I cannot tell you how great I feel seeing you each week and knowing in my heart how lucky your children are to have parents like you.
Keep smiling. May your week be filled with peace and joy!


ohboymom March 14, 2013 at 6:36 pm

Thank you for sharing that. Those are all great points! I especially like the “stop, look, and listen.” It makes so much sense yet there are times when we seem to forget to do that with our children, especially in this age of electronic distractions.


Marina Feldman March 14, 2013 at 4:28 pm


Incredible story. This is something that can happened to all of us and you handled it so well! Your description cast me right into the stands. I was so angry at this guy while reading. If we can’t handle bully’s as adults what kind of example does that set for our kids? Nice going, you are my hero!


ohboymom March 14, 2013 at 6:38 pm

Aw thanks, but really it wasn’t heroic. It was what any of us would do in that situation. And yes, I was trying to set an example that no one should put up with that kind of behavior. Thanks for reading and commenting! (and hope to see you soon too).


Roshni March 14, 2013 at 11:37 pm

OMG!! I cannot imagine a grownup man behaving that way!!! I’m so sorry this happened to you, Emily!! Listen, I understand from the comments, that there may be some debate about whether you were right or not to question this guy, but in my opinion, the minute he started calling you and you and your child names and mimicking you as if he was a small child himself, all these arguments go out the window. Because, no matter if he didn’t deserve to be questioned, you *definitely* did not deserve to be insulted in that scale!!
I’m so glad to know that he was thrown out!!


ohboymom March 15, 2013 at 9:45 am

I agree with you — there’s no excuse for a grown man to behave that way, no matter what the circumstance. I’m hoping he has learned that by now.


the chibi March 14, 2013 at 11:44 pm

it’s really sad to know that children undergo such bullying. It may result to bad or good behavior of the child being bullied. That’s why parent and social should understand and guide the children that being bullied.

I’m sad that you encounter such thing, but I guess your parents did awesome job. looks like it did not affect you in a bad way.


Jack Kirin March 15, 2013 at 9:13 am

Dear Emily, In my previous message I stated I coached boys and girls years ago. I also officiated boys and girls basketball…girls volleyball….boys and girls baseball/softball; at both the high school and college level for over 35 years. I have seen many ignorant parents who don’t know the rules, make a complete jackass of themselves yelling and swearing at officials…in front of their grade school children! Needless to say, their sons acted the same way on the basketball court. In many instances these parents are professional people who send their children to expensive private schools. Many of my games involved schools located in a rural farm area where parents and their children treated the officials with utmost respect. In recent years I have watched my grandchildren participate in sports and it makes me disgusted when I see parents bring their child to the field for a baseball game…then sit on their lawn chair and read a book with no concern about what their child is doing. The only thing junior knows about the game is when its over…everyone gets a treat! My point to all this; parenting is a tough job, more so today then 30 years ago. However, some parents thing that going to a class and expect a “professional instructor” has all the answers is the only way to go! Its not simple…but common sense, dedication and maybe a well placed hand on the butt is sometime in order. We always found that the best discipline and punishment was to take away a privilege or add a chore in the child’s schedule. My point to all this…we raised four children, sent them to good colleges. I figure our method must have some merit. My girls are doctors and my sons are engineers, graduating from Case-Western-Reserve University. I was a pipefitter in a steelmill, but most important, my wife was a stay-at-home mom and we took part in their school activities and always made it our business to know where they were going and with whom!


Terrye March 15, 2013 at 9:41 am

What a douche-bag! I am sure there are many other parents and kids that are so thankful for standing up to this turd! Way to go, mom!


ohboymom March 15, 2013 at 9:55 am

Thanks and yes, from what I understand this man did not have a great reputation as a coach…not a surprise, right?


Jimmy Maron March 15, 2013 at 9:45 am

“I’ll admit I was heated and may have had an accusatory tone, but I also know I was reasonable. Bottom line is he broke the rules and needed to be called out” – basically, you marched up to a coach who had just lost a game and started making accusations in a heated fashion. Because he appears to have played your son 3/8 of the time versus 50% of the time.

His response, of course, was over the top, unacceptable, and even more rude than what you did. He should have walked away.

But your behavior was unacceptable and remarkably self-righteous. I wonder if you would have written a blog post had the coach said “Can we please discuss this at another time? I am a little overwhelmed right now, the game just ended.” Would you have written a blog post titled “The time I over-reacted to a rec basketball game and blew up in the face of a parent volunteer?” – I doubt it.

Instead you decided to embarrass a neighbor and fellow member of your community with a story that, no doubt, is only your version of events.

“When you coach a youth rec team, it’s more than just coaching. You need to have the patience of a saint, and if you don’t, it’s not for you. Period,” you write. Indeed. You left out the part about being possibly libeled on a blog if you don’t keep control in the face of parents who verbally assault you after the game is over.

Here is my take – both parties here are bullies. The coach is of the foul mouthed, aggressive variety; you are of the passive, self righteous variety.


ohboymom March 15, 2013 at 12:26 pm

I respect your right to have an opinion and comment…thanks for stopping by my site.


Just Sayin' March 15, 2013 at 4:37 pm

Jimmy Maron says the coach was possibly libeled. To be libeled, one has to be identified and this is all anonymous so far.

Are we sure Jimmy Maron isn’t the coach??


ohboymom March 15, 2013 at 6:29 pm

I gotta say, the same thought did cross my mind! And yes, it’s all anonymous and will remain that way so I agree, no libel here. Thanks so much for reading and commenting!


Jimmy Maron March 19, 2013 at 4:53 pm

No, I am not the coach. I am a coach who has had parents march up to me after games to complain about their kids not playing enough. The league I am involved in banned this a few years ago because it led to heated arguments that weren’t constructive and the coaches were being put on the spot when it did occur.

Everyone in your town, I am sure, knows who this person is. Including his own children, I am sure, which is great, so if your affect was to humiliate and embarrass him you have succeeded. Below you wrote you “reported” him – you wrote a blog about it. Reporting it would have been talking to the league about him and getting it addressed.

In many leagues now there are informal – or even formal – rules around parental behavior – no “Reply to all” emails questioning coaches aggressively, no marching up to coaches and berating them for one reason or another after games- these rules exist for a number of reasons – and they aren’t overly onerous. If a parent has an issue with a coach they can address it in a timely fashion or the folks who run the leagues or in a one on one conversation. It is designed to allow parents to cool down, and coaches to address things when they are in the right state of mind.

I was just quoting what you yourself wrote – you were heated and accusatory when you went up to him. And then you got mad when he over-reacted and started imitating you and cursing (unacceptalbe behavior, to be clear).

But what you did – and you started the whole thing- was wrong. The real way to address this is to contact the league officials if you don’t feel comfortable with the coach and invite a civil conversation. You failed to do that. Really, stepping back, your blog presumes that parents should get to confront coaches about playing time issues in the moments after games – and that isn’t fair to the coaches. Full stop. Many leagues recognize that. Yours should.

Stacia March 15, 2013 at 10:33 am

What. A. Fucking. Douche. Canoe.


Cyndi March 15, 2013 at 10:35 am

It’s one thing for a child to learn to deal with his or her feelings when life deals them a bad batch of cards. However, when another adult insults another adult, the rules change. That coach insulted you, embarrassed you, and mimicked you in front of others. His unprofessionalism was over the top. I think you were well within your rights to do exactly as you did. I would have done the same. That kind of unprofessional behavior is completely uncalled for. What kind of example is he setting for all the people he coaches, for his kids and everyone else? I think a slap on the wrist – by not being able to coach rec league anymore – was completely reasonable. Maybe now he’ll learn to contain his anger.


ohboymom March 15, 2013 at 12:28 pm

Thanks and yes, that was my reason for reporting him. He needs to learn to control his rage and treat both adults and children respectfully. Thanks for your support!


Ethel M March 15, 2013 at 10:37 am

As the situation warrants…
Option a) Don’t just stand there, do something.
Option b) Don’t just do something, stand there (and reflect; and consider the consequences of assertiveness.
Writer: quasi-mature Bronx gene holder


ohboymom March 15, 2013 at 12:31 pm

I think option a was the right way to go in this case, but I agree that option b can sometimes be the better way to go.


Josie Bisett March 15, 2013 at 12:51 pm

I applaud you for standing up for what you believed was right! There are always two sides to everything, but I thought this post was well written and as balanced as could be given the fact he called you a “fucking whiner!” I’m shocked!!! In fact your response seems calm, and graceful considering his comment to you. I would have felt compelled to lamp him one!! There will always be a different perspective and people who want to defend the other side. Especially if they’ve been in the coaches position themselves. This is a great story for a blog. You are brave to expose his unsavory behavior, and I can’t fathom how anyone can label you a bully for calling a bully out!!


Abigail March 15, 2013 at 2:25 pm

Wow, that is unbelievable that he treated you that way! I’m so glad to hear he will not be coaching anymore. What a horrible example of leadership for the team, not to mention completely ridiculous and immature behavior. Good for you for standing up for yourself and your son.


Kate Hall March 16, 2013 at 1:19 am

Man, Emily, what a horrible situation to be in. Good for you for confronting him. I probably would have cried if he said that to me. Or gotten so mad that I would have said something worse back – it’s hard to say.


ohboymom March 16, 2013 at 6:33 pm

I did almost cry. I was shaking for a while after. And yeah, I was surprised I didn’t say something worse to him. Believe me, I wanted to and he so deserved it. However, by not being able to coach, he got what he deserved.


Jon Birger April 8, 2013 at 1:43 pm

Emily, as someone who coached in that league (and against your son’s team), I believe the rec league itself bears some responsibility for confrontations like the one you experienced. The league has a clear-cut rule that every player must play at least half the game, and yet it instructs the referees not to enforce the rule. As a result, the onus is on parents and opposing coaches to confront and expose rogue coaches — which I think is unfair and unwise. Either the rule should be enforced during the game (my preference) or it shouldn’t exist at all.


ohboymom April 8, 2013 at 4:41 pm

I had no idea there was that stipulation about the referees not needing to enforce the rule about playing time. I absolutely agree with you that it’s not fair or smart to do it that way. Thanks very much for reading and commenting!


Erick December 15, 2013 at 4:41 am

I stumbled upon your article while trying to pacify myself from the experience me and my son had today from his basketball coach. My son made some mistakes in the game. When his coach called him out to be benched, he told my son “You are not the hero today”. What was that for? Is that necessary? It is like he was implying something, I dunno. When my son told me that after the game, I felt really bad seeing my son feeling really down and discouraged. I wanted to confront the coach but decided not to as per my son’s request. It is just sad that there people like this.


ohboymom December 16, 2013 at 10:59 am

I agree that it’s sad that there are people out there who are supposed to be good mentors for our children, but instead are only interested in winning and not helping our kids develop their skills. I applaud you and your son for having the restraint to not confront him, because it takes a lot of self-control to do that, which I didn’t have. You might want to report his behavior to the school or the league commissioner. After I reported my son’s coach, he was ousted from the league and can never coach in it again.


ohboymom March 19, 2013 at 5:40 pm

Again, I do appreciate hearing your comments. I suppose I should have included ALL details about this coach, some of which have come out after the fact. He was apparently asked to leave the league last year, but then they let him back in because they needed parent volunteers. And, we did report his breaking of the rules to the league the previous time he had not abided by playing time. The league did address it with him, but again, he went ahead and disregarded the rules during this final game. So, I did not fail to address the league first, as you presumed. As I’ve stated previously, I am the quietest parent on the sidelines at every game, I am not a “reply all” person, etc. But, enough was enough. And clearly the league agreed.


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