When the basketball season ended badly for my high school senior son, I loaded up my verbal arsenal and sat down to write a very powerful email to his coach. I worked and re-worked it until finally it sounded just right–brutally to-the-point with a touch of self-control. But it never got further than my draft folder.
That’s happened to me a lot over the years. I’ve written a very loaded email, with every intention of letting the coach know just how I felt about something, and then for one reason or another, I let it sit, and sit, and sit, not quite ready to push send.
That was probably the smartest thing I could have done. Let it sit. And now I can tell you why it is a very good idea to let those emails penned out of frustration sit eternally in your draft folder.
It could hurt your kid.
I kept waiting for the perfect time to send that email to my son’s basketball coach. I didn’t want to do it during the season, because the coach might take it out on him. But when the season was over, my son still had to face the coach in school knowing that mom had lambasted him. Definitely an embarrassment. The only good time to send it was after my son graduated, and by then, did it really matter anymore?
It really doesn’t change a thing.
Oh, you may feel a little better, but believe me, coaches get emails from disgruntled parents all the time; they’ve built up immunities. My husband, a coach for over 25 years, has gotten many emails from “concerned” parents. And quite honestly, none of them ever changed his coaching philosophy. Some coaches may answer and make reassurances to pacify you, but your gripes are not going to change they way they coach. That’s just the way it is.
You are labeled.
Whether you like it or not, you will put yourself out there as a whining, complaining parent. When coaches see an email from you in their inbox, they will be more apt to push delete rather than open. They may also steer clear of you when they see you. Do you really want to be known as “that guy” or “that mom” who has a rep for giving coaches a hard time? And if a Christian parent likes to email-vent, we must ask, is this a good representation of Christ?
Focus on the bigger issues. There will be times when a parent should confront a coach, but not because of playing time or what position little Johnny is playing. Let your child fight those battles. Reserve coaching confrontations for moral issues. The only person that benefits from writing I’m-gonna-tell-you-how-I-feel emails is you. Not your kid, not the coach.
And if that’s all it takes to vent your frustration, then write that scathing email–I’m still having those urges even for my college-age athletes and their issues–and then let it sit. And sit. And sit. And sit.