Sport, without spin, from around the world. Matthew Hall considers the issues behind the headlines and tells the stories that others don't.
How 'green death' claimed a kids coach
Last Saturday I donned my coaching cap and led a group of fifth- and sixth- graders through a morning of soccer practice.
Over our 90 minutes together we shared some small victories, including
collecting broken glass from the muddy field, making sure we left with
the same number of kids that we arrived with, and celebrated that one
of our rising stars, a kid called Andy, grasped the concept of moving
into space after he made a pass to prepare to receive a pass in return
(this changed Andy’s world).
Baby steps? We celebrate them.
For Michael Kinahan, another kid’s coach doing his thing in Massachusetts in the US, things went a little differently. He resigned after sending a pre-season email to the parents of his team of six-year-old girls.
Among other issues, Kinahan suggested that his team, to be renamed “Green Death” because Scituate Soccer Club was too pedestrian to “kick ass”.
He added: “While I spent a good Saturday morning listening to the legal liability BS, which included a 30 minute dissertation on how we need to baby the kids and especially the refs, I was disgusted. The kids will run, they will fall, get bumps, bruises and even bleed a little. Big deal, it’s good for them.”
Kinahan raised debatable points about how best to deal with very young players but what proved his downfall was criticism of referees (an issue that a parent later said was clearly in jest).
“If the refs can’t handle a little criticism, then they should turn in their whistle,” he wrote. “The sooner they figure out how to make a decision and live with the consequences the better. My heckling of the refs is actually helping them develop as people. The political correctness police are not welcome on my sidelines.”
Kinahan’s problem? Many of the referees are, themselves, teenagers. That was the tipping point for some parents and club officials. The coach had to quit.
The email was, Kinahan claimed, a misunderstood joke: “It was also meant as a satire of those who take youth sports too seriously for the wrong reasons.”
Read his email in full here.
For some, Kinahan represents all that is wrong with the world. For others, he’s become a PC anti-hero. Either way, he’s stirred debate on how kids should be coached. And how their parents should respond to pre-season emails.
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