The fire chicken has entered the building.

It’s sports season for the kids. We are in volleyball tournaments every weekend. I used to think I was kind and patient and understanding (for crying out loud I’m pursuing a degree in social work!). This weekend I realized that I can be none of those things. Instead I can be angry and impatient and not give a damn and swear like a sailor.

How does this happen you ask?

Enter your kid in sports. Enter your kid sitting on the bench with one other kid for the better part of two days, even though he is clearly a better player than three of the kids on the court. Enter a brand new out-of-school, easily cowed kid coaching with a parent for a helper. Enter other parents and other team members going “what is the coach even doing? I don’t understand this at all!” Enter another family pulling their son and actually leaving because of the ridiculousness going on.

So yeah.

We knew that our kids’ school worked this way. That winning means everything. That with a young, inexperienced coach, parents can easily manipulate so their child plays more. We knew that with this particular school the heart of the child is not as important as that gold medal. What I didn’t know was how utterly pissed off I could get about it.

Poor G. There I was barely containing my rage, tears pouring down my face, expletives firing from my mouth, expecting him to do something!

“Why don’t you go over there and talk to the coach?!” I said. “Why don’t you fix this crooked set up?! Because we both know that if I go over there, I will destroy him with my words, deliver an uppercut to the jaw of the parent, and get myself officially banned from watching for the rest of the year!”

This is why I need G. Because he is calm and rational and reminded me that these were not the official coaches for the year, and that things will probably change in the next week. The only problem was in those moments, the rest of the day watching my son on the bench felt like an eternity. There was no “next week” or “next tournament”, there was only now.

“Now” can take forever. “Now” is a time when I’m trying my hardest to calm down, to stop crying, and to try and figure out what to do with the dragon inside of me. Or as G likes to call it, the fire chicken inside me. I have earned this fashionable nickname because my stature is not very big, but even so, I’m a lot more confrontational than he is.

“Do you really think I’m just a big chicken?” I asked him.

“Oh, there’s a lot more fire in you than there is chicken!” was his reply.

That made me feel better.

Today I feel somewhat reasonably better. I knew sitting in that chair yesterday that today would be be like this. I would feel calmer and like the whole thing was a bit more removed. I can be more rational today. I can do what G said and wait and see how the next few weeks go with the actual coaches in control. Then if things are still crooked he can go and be diplomatic and calm and I can throw fist pumps and “make sure you say….!” in the background if things are still not right.

Knowing things would be different today was one of the things that kept me sitting in my chair yesterday and not bounding across the court with shouts of ” HEY YOU!!!!” That and the school policy of not approaching the coaches for 24 hours after a game..

Ugh. Learning to stay in your seat and not react is a very hard thing. Learning to be rational in the midst of so much emotion is a very hard thing.

This is why I have G. This is also why momma bears are a thing.


Photo by Jehu Christan on Unsplash

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