Dear Bleacher Coaches,
Just a friendly PSA that those athletes you're yelling at are students.
Children whose parents are likely sitting next to you in the stands.
They want to play just as well as you want them to, but they are KIDS who are honestly just trying to fit in and find a friend they can count on.
They are burdened with having to decide what they want to do for the rest of their lives.
They are falling in love for the first time and their hearts are being broken.
They're pressured by their peers to get high and drink and have sex and are mocked and bullied when they take a stand.
Social media has continually reminded them they'll never measure up and shows them week after week all the fun that was had that they weren't asked to be a part of.
They are taking in what it means to now have divorced parents and maybe feeling like it was all their fault.
Their bodies are changing so fast that it's nearly impossible for their shots to be consistent. Between acne and weight gain and facial hair and braces, they struggle to even recognize the person in the mirror staring back at them, much less to look like the athlete you want them to be.
Anxiety often overwhelms them and too many of them struggle with depression and even thoughts of suicide. (Yes, even high performing athletes with good grades have these thoughts.)
Believe me when I say, there's nothing these kids would like more than to have an amazing game.
But it's not always gonna happen.
We have to be adults with shoulders that can withstand that, and vow to do nothing but cheer for them both on and off the court.
Cheer for your team. Cheer for your athletes. Cheer for your kids.
They need you and your encouragement.
-The Coach's Wife