I can remember that very first day of practice, stepping out into left field at field 5, playing soccer my whole life (on those same fields!) but completely winging it, not having a clue what to get out there and do with a bunch of 7 year olds. Coaching is sometimes considered a thankless role, but it’s something that really is constantly giving back, not always with words, or gifts or whatever, but with small moments or memories that really become part of your DNA. Being that young I think I learned more from them than they have from me. What kind of parent do I want to be someday? what morals/values are most important? If one kid out there looks up to you, what message are you sending to them? people are always watching, how will you react? Some kids need a check back to reality, (or their parents do) and at times (like any job) you don’t feel like being there, but some kid may be dealing with tough things at home and you know that they may not have anything to look forward to that day but that one hour out there with you, which really then puts things in perspective; makes you feel like your problems really aren’t problems at all. You tell me that is thankless! 1 Timothy 4:8 / 1 Thessalonians 5:11
Today was my last day with the soccer program at the Park & Rec/YMCA. My relationship with the administration has deteriorated a lot since the transition. It was simply a matter of me being outspoken, passionate about the direction and vision I saw for the soccer program in Lumpkin and the interim-director not seeing eye-to-eye with me. I was very vocal about keeping an affiliation with Georgia Soccer both now and in the future, after several meetings with commissioners and a few long, very detailed letters to various people in the community about why the kids needed this and what it would mean if we opted out, I stepped on a few toes (mainly my supervisor) and really put myself on the line in order to protect what is in the best interest of all the kids in this community who I care so deeply about. Xs, Os and the bottom line ($) first is what they saw, but they don’t have to go out and see these kids everyday like I do. After 6 years of building a program that I have invested so much of my time, heart and soul in and wanting something better; something that the people and kids in Dahlonega can be proud of- I vehemently disagreed with what he wanted to do, I felt there were better options in fundraising, increasing fees, etc to make it all work and I spoke out on several occassions why leaving GA Soccer would be a devastating decision morally, financially and structurally for the long term at the park and rec. When people started taking my side, he didn’t like that and felt I was breaking policy, even though I was just expressing my opinion for the best interest of the KIDS off the clock. The story is long, but basically we had already registered with the Georgia Mountains YMCA and DECLARED through the YMCA, not the Parks & Rec, when the transition takes affect, our program will no longer be affiliated with GA Soccer but my ACADEMY teams still is because of the deadlines and such and how we were already paid out and set into the system prior to this date. The YMCA (very GRACIOUSLY, did not HAVE to do this) said we could still be under them and they would take care of all the fees and liability, all we needed was the county to OK to use our fields and all things would be good to go (at least in the spring). The Y owes the Rec money from the REC registrations that were taken before today, and new director was very pushy about the timetable for getting it back. He basically held our 2 teams (22 10-11 YO boys and girls) hostage and said to the YMCA “We won’t ok the field agreement until all the money is paid” which to me made no sense because what kind of leverage does that hold to the YMCA? What are they gonna say? “OH NO we better pay now because we have to have 2 teams that WE are doing a favor do have a place to practice!” Nope…. that wasn’t the case, it was a personal message to ME, because he knew I cared and in my opinion it was a very manipulative tactic, at the expense of the kids, to have something to hold over my head. When I questioned his direction, he said I wasn’t apart of his plan, and I did appreciate his honesty, but I butted heads with him, to protect these kids and he didn’t like that, and to be honest I would do the same thing 1000x if I had a chance to do it all over again. We are still working out the details, but rest assured WE WILL be playing this season, and WE WILL be going forward as usual. The biggest inconveniences that we potentially face are…. we play our 5 currently scheduled home games in Cleveland or Dawsonville (I have people in both places that want to help us and have volunteered to be of any help they can be if we need fields for home games) and we practice normal in Lumpkin like usual. I highly doubt the county will hold-out on us, I think they will cave in soon and agree to letting us use the fields again, but that would be the biggest issue, 5 saturdays where we would have to drive 15-20 minutes farther than usual, so I know that stinks but it is what it is, we will ultimately be fine.