My son had a sporting event scheduled in the afternoon on a Saturday. We drove at least thirty miles to get there, paid for parking, paid to get into the event, only to find out that none of his fellow team members were there, his coaches were not there, and he wasn’t on the list of registered participants.
We quickly found a person from the hosting team of the event, and she took my son to talk with one of the officials to find out what had happened. She came back a few minutes later and told me that the mistake happened because “your coaches showed up late this morning and didn’t register your son in time, so he was left off the list. He won’t be able to participate today.”
We left the event, and as we were driving home, I composed an email to one of the coaches of my son’s team. I wasn’t happy, so I’m sure the email didn’t come across as necessarily friendly, but I didn’t go overboard or blame anyone at first, I simply asked for the coach to explain how the situation could have happened.
Less than twenty minutes later, I received a reply that contained absolutely no apology, and was told that there had been an e-mail sent out ten days prior that had explained that my son and a few of his teammates had to be bumped from the afternoon session of the event, and moved to the morning session. I was also told that I “must have misunderstood the officials at the event, because they would never say the coaches were late. The coaches were on time, and the officials would never have told you our coaches were late.”
Um, but they did. That’s what she said, whether it was true or not.
I responded by apologizing for missing the e-mail that had been sent letting me know that my son wasn’t going to be participating in the afternoon session, but the morning session. I acknowledged that it was, in fact, my fault, obviously. I pointed out that I was usually pretty on top of things, and that I must have just overlooked the e-mail.
I thought the conversation was finished there, but the coach came back several minutes later with, “You opened the email on…”
So, after I’d already apologized that I didn’t read the e-mail, and acknowledged the situation was my fault, the coach made it a point to go back and investigate that I must have seen the e-mail, opened it, and ignored it.
It was then, at that moment, that I LOST MY SHIT. All of my shit- gone.
I thanked the coach for her diligent investigation and confessed that I probably saw the e-mail, clicked on it, started reading it (I don’t know, maybe), and then got distracted by something, all the while telling myself I’d go back and read the email, then didn’t. My bad.
Maybe it was the day I burned dinner, or crashed my car, or the day my dog barfed all over the carpet because he has pancreatitis (awesome!). I guess I’d have to go back and try to remember to check the date (the coach was so thoughtful to point out to me), I opened the email and forgot about it, to actually try to remember what was going on at the exact moment I chose to NOT read an important e-mail sent to me by my son’s coach.
Furthermore, I made sure I told the coach, I didn’t really appreciate the fact that I was told that I “misunderstood” the conversation I had with the official at the sporting event, because I was actually THERE, whereas the coach was NOT THERE, and both my husband and son heard the exact same thing I did. None of us misunderstood anything.
I thought about how I would have handled the situation had the roles been reversed- if I had been the coach, and a parent e-mailed me because she was upset over a certain situation. If it would have been me as the coach, here’s the email I would have send the parent instead…
Dear Mrs. Landry,
I am so sorry for the confusion about today’s event. I did send out on e-mail on (date), to explain that your son’s events had been moved, and you did open it on (date), but I know things sometimes get hectic.
All of our coaches were at the event early, definitely not late, so I am very sorry that you were told otherwise. We would have never registered everyone else and forgotten about your son. He is a very important part of our team, and I hope to see him on Monday at practice.
See, it’s not that hard to be polite. I have no problem admitting that I dropped the ball and didn’t read an important e-mail. If I had, the whole situation would have never happened. So, yes, it was my fault. But why couldn’t it have ended there? Why did this person, whom I am actually PAYING to teach my kid how to play this sport, feel that it was necessary to point out that I had opened the e-mail, and that I didn’t understand whatever it was the official had told me? Why did the coach automatically assume I was the person in the wrong, and not the person at the sporting event, who told me the coaches were late?
I should also point out here that my son has not been on this team very long. We are new members, so we don’t always know exactly what’s going on. One would think, or at least I would, that the coaches would give me just a bit of understanding when I screw something up. I mean, isn’t there a learning curve or something? Don’t they have a grace period for parents who are distracted, overwhelmed, and NEW??? If they don’t, they should.
I’m pretty sure I overreacted a bit, but I don’t think I’m sorry. I did lose my shit, but again, I really don’t think I’m sorry. And the more I think about it, the less sorry I get.
I’m tired of being talked down to. I’m tired of people out there thinking that it’s easy to be a mother, whether you work outside the home or not, and keep everything together all the time. It’s not easy, in fact, it’s impossible. Emails go unread and are sometimes forgotten. Kids are dropped off late and sometimes picked up too early. Life happens to all of us, and I’m just asking for a little bit of understanding.
I didn’t ask the coach why, when my kid is practicing said sport at least two or three days per week, he wasn’t told that his events were moved from the afternoon to the morning. Had that been done (because some of the time, my kid is actually more on top of things than I am), I might have remembered I overlooked an email, went back and read it, and we would have all been happy.
I’m sure these coaches get blamed for a lot of things they shouldn’t be blamed for. I’m certain crazy parents (like me), e-mail them, yell at them, maybe even curse at them sometimes, and I think that’s awful. But at the same time, what happened to a time when the person you are paying to coach your kid (this is not a volunteer), can’t just be understanding that you screwed up?
Why did I have to be sent a condescending e-mail after I had ALREADY apologized for making a mistake, that further pointed out that I didn’t just miss an e-mail, I opened that Mother F*er and didn’t bother to read it? Why did I need to be told that I misunderstood a conversation I had JUST HAD with the official? I was there. My son’s coach was not. But clearly, in the coach’s eyes, I was already an incompetent parent who doesn’t read important e-mails, so I had to have misunderstood that very recent conversation. It couldn’t have been some official, whom nobody knows, who said the wrong thing. It had to have been me.
I’m quite sure the team now has my name on a folder they keep in the “Horribly Argumentative Parents” filing cabinet, and every coach probably thinks I need therapy or drugs or both. Little do they know, I’m already covered on both those fronts, so my shit losing happens even when I am fully counseled AND on the drugs. Mic drop.
I went to bed that night, thinking that maybe I was too hard on the coach. Maybe I should have let the “misunderstood” comment slide, and perhaps I shouldn’t have lost my shit over the fact that the coach went back into the e-mail history to just MAKE SURE I opened that freaking e-mail of destiny so that it could be further pointed out that it was ME who screwed up and not anyone else.
But I decided that no, I’m not going to apologize anymore. I’m done with that shit. I’ve said “I’m sorry” to so many people over the years who have talked down to me, sent me condescending e-mails, treated me badly, or just plain ignored me, and I’m done. I’m a forty-seven-year-old mother of two teenaged boys and I’m tired. I’m tired of trying to keep the peace when someone treats my kids or me like crap or talks to me like I’m an idiot, ESPECIALLY if I am paying them money. They don’t have to like me, but they better, at the very least, be polite.
I had no problem with the coach pointing out there was an e-mail sent. I also do not care that I was told I opened the email, but it was the delivery of these facts that made me lose my shit. Furthermore, DO NOT tell me about a conversation I JUST HAD ten minutes prior to our e-mail spat if YOU WERE NOT THERE. That is just going to cause me to LOSE MY SHIT!!
So, no. Nobody is getting another “I’m sorry” from me unless they truly deserve it. If I do something wrong, I’ll apologize, but I’m no longer going to let anyone talk to me like I don’t have a clue about how to organize my life. And, yes, there are days when I absolutely DO NOT have a clue about how to organize my life, but dammit, nobody needs to point it out. I ALREADY KNOW IT, BIOTCHES!
PS- I do not hate above mentioned coach. I have no idea what kind of day the coach was having, and if it was anything at all like mine, I suppose Coach just lost some shit. I also do not hold grudges, so as long as my kid is happy on the team, I’m happy. But I cannot promise that my shit will not ever be lost again. In fact, it’s very likely that my shit will be lost again sooner, rather than later, and I probably will not apologize.