I was raised to stick by my choices. If I say I will do something, it is incredibly rare for me to not follow through. I am sticking by my friend when even now that I am not her Maid Of Honor, I am still planning her wedding, and paying for my third of her shower. I stayed in every job I ever had even after knowing how under paid and over worked I was until I could no longer stay. I stayed in my first marriage, some would say, much longer than I should have. It's what I do.
It's what my husband does as well. He gives the people he loves more chances than he should, stayed longer than he should have in his marriage, and often finds himself deep, deep in holes he could have easily stepped out of years ago.
It's not a surprise then, that it's what we try to teach our boys. You make your choices and stick with them. Right?
Oldest tried out and made the Freshman basketball team last year, and while he spent a fair amount of time on the bench, we figured he was paying his dues and would eventually develop into a strong member of the team. The regular coach was out due to personal issues, and the new coach was, well, less than supportive. They hardly rotated the line, and it became quickly apparent that they had no interest in developing anyone other than the star Senior on Varsity. Unfazed, he finished out the season, did an independent spring league, two leagues in the summer, and worked out in the fall so he'd be ready for this year.
This year, he tried out again and made the JV team. While he was excited, some of his friends had fallen away, some by choice and others by the coach's hand. This coach is much tougher, and lacks appropriateness. There are 4 weeks left in the season. He averages only 4-6 minutes a game, usually in 2 or 3 minute intervals, with last night being only 52 seconds. In that small amount of time he has scored ten points for the team thus far this season. There are other players that have played 16 or more per game and have scored none. Zero. the entire season.
He has asked the coach what he can do for more time on the court. He gets the same answer each time. He shows early at every practice. He is not the fastest, but not slowest player either, and does whatever is asked. And... nothing.
The more I'm talking to other parents the more I'm hearing how abusive the program is. Kids are told they will never amount to anything, or that they will always be average. The best comment though, was the game before last when he told them all "This team has made me hate the sport of basketball.". And while the program is lead by the head coach, who is notorious for his abusive behavior towards players, in the past the coaches would at least find something positive to point out after trashing the team. This year, however, that seems not the case. It's no wonder they have lost every game this season.
He has long be debating quitting. Last night seemed to be the breaking point. His grades are faltering because of the schedule. His attitude is wavering. And more important, he is miserable. This is the last year he can play on the rec leagues, and without the option of Varsity, he will ultimately have to stop playing. And while I can see that he's torn about it, he seems okay, and is looking at other sports to try.
I hate seeing him go through this and we have left it up to him. I have asked that he respectfully quit if that what he chooses to do. He's not happy I asked that. He doesn't understand about burning bridges just yet... particularly since this coach works all year long, in nearly every sport. And if he stays through the next 4 weeks, will he look back and think the stayed too long, just like I have so many times in my life? Funny, even at 42 I am still trying to determine at what point it's okay to let go of your commitment, before you end up needing to be committed.
Maybe it's unrealistic for him to know at 16...