Seeing Through “Parent Goggles”
We need coaches in sports where our children are concerned. We need them because it is hard for parents to be objective where our children are involved. We all have the amazing child; the prodigy; the “cheer princess”. When they do that back handspring, the heavens open up and angels sing. . . It is PERFECT! They ARE a point flyer, I mean look at that perfect form! When they go up into their stunt, they are steady as if they are on the ground! How could they NOT be on point?
WAKE UP!!!!! You are dreaming again! Or better yet, you are looking through those “parent goggles”. What?
Most people have heard of the “beer goggles” where so much beer is consumed by the “wearer” that they are surrounded by the most beautiful people. . . Until they sober up and hit “coyote ugly” – where you would rather chew off the arm that is under the person sleeping next to you and sneak out than risk waking them up and facing the consequences of using the beer goggles. (I truly need to get some therapy for some of the crazy things I know. . .) Well, in the same manner, parents choose to look through “parent goggles” to see their children performing athletically. I can honestly say the very first time I heard a coach use the term was at a volleyball camp when I was in high school. Another athlete was doing drills, and one of the coaches shook their head at the level of skill (or lack thereof). The coach – a very prominent coach at the time in the national volleyball world – leaned over to one of his assistants and muttered, “If I have to hear how amazing she is one more time I am going to smack the parent goggles off mom’s face so she sees the truth.” The only reason I had heard it was I happened to be doing a drill that was nearby and I was standing in line waiting my turn. They had their backs to me, and more than likely was unaware that I was standing there listening. I was supposed to be focused on the drill, but battling ADHD, I did anything BUT focus. I had to stifle a giggle none the less – the term was rather funny (as well as picturing the coach slapping goggles off of a mom that in all honesty was one of the moms that everyone was aware of). At the time, I didn’t get the significance of having “parent goggles”; I just thought it was a crazy term used by coaches to identify crazy parents.
Fast-forward thirty years later and I am the mother of a child participating in a competitive sport. Now I get the true meaning of “parent goggles”. We all have them – even those of us that stand back and don’t interfere. I catch myself slipping them on from time to time. Granted, I am not the crazy parent that is hounding my child’s coach about why my child is not front-and-center, but I still like to think that my child is good at things. She is strong – she would be an amazing base, but she is considerably smaller than others on her team that base so she is placed in a “front spot” position (which she hates, by the way because she doesn’t use her muscles at all; she is “just there”). But I am supportive of her coach and I continually defend the choice to her. I want to see her do what she wants to do and I know she would be an amazing base, but the coach is looking at safety of the others in the group as well as her safety. But I will say that she can nail that dance in the routine, and her spot on the floor reflects that.
My point being – I know my child would be good at being a base, but it is not my decision or my child’s decision; it is up to the coach. She is looking through her “coach goggles” and seeing all that I as a parent don’t see or consider. Coaches get paid to be coaches. We pay them for their knowledge, their talent and their expertise. When we as parents step in with our “parent goggles” and try to dictate to them that they should put Suzie Cheer Princess as the point flyer because “if you saw her at home pulling her scorpion. . . she almost has it perfect”. The coach asks her to pull it for her, and it looks more like a misshapen pretzel in the reject pile. . . We as parents like to see the BEST in our kids. We SHOULD see the best in them! We are their number one fan! It is our job to support them and consider them the best ones out there! We are the parents; we are their number one supporters and we should be telling them how great they are and building them up! It is the coach’s job to teach the technique. It is up to the coach to give them the skills to perform TO THE BEST OF THEIR ABILITY. Note that – OF THEIR ABILITY. Every person on the face of the earth has levels of ability in various things. Some are more intelligent than others; some have steadier hands than others; some are more creative, better speakers, stronger. . . There are varying degrees in all of this. The same goes for sports. Athletes are good at different parts of the sport. That is the reason that there are “position players” in many different sports. Your “utility players” (the ones that can “do it all”) are so very rare. In cheer, there are flyers that are amazing – steady, flexible like a rubber band, and have perfect form – but ask them to dance and they are a train wreck. Still there are others that can tumble out of their minds, and everyone wishes they had that skill, but struggle flying. Still yet there are those athletes that are amazing at the dance, and their jumps are so pretty and high, but struggle to pull their tuck. No one person is perfect at everything. The coach is paid to see that and plan accordingly. They utilize the athletes for the best of their ability; parents love them for being on the earth (and if you don’t shame on you!!). The coach is going to put your athlete where the TEAM gets the greatest amount of points AND that allows for easiest transition from one spot in the routine to the next (it is NOT always about skill, even though so many want to make it that way).
So the next time that you see your athlete placed in the routine in a spot that you don’t necessarily agree with, take a deep breath, remove the “parent goggles” and try to put on a pair of “coach goggles” to see if you can understand why (don’t be upset if you can’t; it is not your job to really). I will say this though – if you don’t agree with the coach enough to fight about it and argue, what are you doing at that gym to begin with? We pay a lot of money to have these people spend their time with our kids and teach them the sport of cheerleading. If you don’t trust the coach, you are wasting your money and their time. Let them be the coach; you the parent. That is the easiest way to make it through without becoming “that parent” to the coaching staff.
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