The Vanguard

To the coach who ruined the sport I loved

Ryann Guy (15) was called up as a freshman to play in a varsity tournament. Photo by Ray Guy.

Ryann Guy (15) was called up as a freshman to play in a varsity tournament. Photo by Ray Guy.

Ryann Guy (15) was called up as a freshman to play in a varsity tournament. Photo by Ray Guy.

Ryann Guy, Reporter

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Eat, breath, sleep, softball. At one point, my life revolved around my sport. As far back as I can remember, softball was everything. I loved it. I had dreams of playing for a big university and, some day, as a professional.

It was  my life.

    It never crossed my mind that just before my senior season, I would quit playing softball.

    I know what you are probably thinking: “You just didn’t want it bad enough.”

    Let me clarify this; I played for my high school and for the town and travel softball teams.       Throughout my athletic career, I received all-conference recognition, I was chosen as the team captain and awarded MVP as a sophomore. I went to college showcase tournaments, recruitment camps, pitching lessons and hitting lessons. If it had anything to do with softball, I was there.

Softball was something that came naturally to me and you don’t willingly volunteer your spare time to do all of that if you don’t truly love doing it. I had the ability to pursue my athletic career and I worked hard for it.  

It was not that I didn’t want it badly enough. I was deterred from playing the game I loved. It was ruined for me.

The sport I cried, sweat, and bled for meant nothing more than a paycheck to the man I was expected to call “coach,” The five-hour after-school practices and Saturday morning workouts were just a bonus for him. He didn’t have the love for the game like the players did. He did not take the time to learn our individual strengths and weaknesses. Everything changed for me when my coach prioritized money before talent.

Favoritism turned into clicks, splitting our team apart. Softball became a political game. It was about which players’ family had the most money and whose parents donated the most time to the team, Their child became a favorite. This wasn’t about working as a team, improving our skills or furthering our athletic careers. He turned it into a battle within the team, not against our opponents.

I knew then, I wanted to stop playing softball. I started to hate it.

The moment my father found out I didn’t go to my senior year tryouts was one of the biggest turning points in my life. I can still hear the crack in his voice; it trembled from the pressure of his breaking heart.  When I was a little girl, my father introduced me to the game. Since then, he was right there with me during every win, loss, practice, 5 a.m. schedules and multiple-hour drives. My father exposed me to this life and watched as my passion and love for softball grew.

Then, it all fell apart.

I felt cheated. I deserved better coaching than I had. Not \every coach was bad, but experiencing several bad coaches lead me to believe this happens too often and affects other families as well. Bad coaching was a reoccurring theme for me as I pursued my athletic career and is still an issue for aspiring athletes everywhere experiencing a bad coach of their own.

A person who doesn’t have an understanding of the dedication players put into this game doesn’t deserve to be called a “coach.”

Merriam-Webster’s defines coach as; “One who instructs or trains; especially:  “One who instructs players in the fundamentals of a sport and directs team strategy.

My coach’s “instruction” was to continue  the same “strategy,” This included practicing the same drills every week he had been doing for the past 20 years and collect a paycheck.

His “fundamentals”of bad coaching ended my life dream, aspiration and ambition.

I hope that someone who aspires to be a coach in the future will truly understand the value of their involvement and the affects they have on players. Too many hard- working athletes are cut short by coaches who do not share their team’s love for the game.       Without a good coach, any player can lose their drive. A person who respects the game and  is as dedicated as the players to making their dreams become reality, deserves to be a coach. Playing softball may have been ruined for me, but I found a new love for the game writing about it for The Vanguard. One day, I will be the coach my worst coach never was.


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2 Responses to “To the coach who ruined the sport I loved”

  1. W Edwards on April 24th, 2017 12:00 pm

    So true this was cut short for my grandson his senior year.

  2. Gaspar on June 13th, 2017 1:53 pm

    I know how you feel. It was because of that same attitude I quit baseball because my last name didn’t match with any of my coach’s buddy’s last names. So I rededicated my energies towards football and my studies. Good luck and maybe you’ll be softball’s answer to Jerry Izenberg.

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To the coach who ruined the sport I loved