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The following email from a Scituate youth soccer coach to parents is a great introduction to a discussion about youth sports.
Congratulations on being selected for Team 7 (forest green shirts) of the Scituate Soccer Club!
My name is Michael and I have been fortunate enough to be selected to coach what I know will be a wonderful group of young ladies.  Chris Mac will also be coaching and I expect the ever popular Terry to return to the sidelines.  Our first game will be Saturday April 4 at 10:00AM.  There will be a half hour of skills followed by a 1 hour game, so total time will be 1.5 hours.  All games will be played on the fields in the front of the High School.  Each player will be required to wear shin guards and cleats are recommended but not required.  A ball will be provided to each player at the first meeting, and each player should bring the ball to games and practices.  There is no set practice time allotted for the U8 teams, but I will convene with the coaches to determine the best time and place.  If there are cancellations due to rain, all notices will be posted via the Scituate Soccer Club website, no calls will be made (though I will try to send an email).  Attached is the Schedule and Code of Conduct.  After listening to the head of the referees drone on for about 30 minutes on the dangers of jewelry (time which I will never get back), no player will be allowed to play with pierced ears, hairclips, etc.   We used to tape the earings, but that practice is no longer acceptable.  Please let me know if your child has any health issues that I need to be aware of.  My home phone is 781 XXX XXXX, my cell number is 781 XXX XXXX, and I check my email frequently.  According to my wife, my emails get too wordy, so for those of you read too slowly, are easily offended, or are too busy, you can stop here.  For the others……
OK, here’s the real deal:  Team 7 will be called Green Death.  We will only acknowledge “Team 7” for scheduling and disciplinary purposes.  Green Death has had a long and colorful history, and I fully expect every player and parent to be on board with the team.  This is not a team, but a family (some say cult), that you belong to forever.  We play fair at all times, but we play tough and physical soccer.  We have some returning players who know the deal; for the others, I only expect 110% at every game and practice.  We do not cater to superstars, but prefer the gritty determination of journeymen who bring their lunch pail to work every week, chase every ball and dig in corners like a Michael Vick pit bull.   Unless there is an issue concerning the health of my players or inside info on the opposition, you probably don’t need to talk to me.  Coach MacDonald has been designated “good guy” this year.
Some say soccer at this age is about fun and I completely agree.  However, I believe winning is fun and losing is for losers.  Ergo, we will strive for the “W” in each game.  While we may not win every game (excuse me, I just got a little nauseated) I expect us to fight for every loose ball and play every shift as if it were the finals of the World Cup.  While I spent a good Saturday morning listening to the legal liability BS, which included a 30 minute dissertation on how we need to baby the kids and especially the refs, I was disgusted.  The kids will run, they will fall, get bumps, bruises and even bleed a little.  Big deal, it’s good for them (but I do hope the other team is the one bleeding).  If the refs can’t handle a little criticism, then they should turn in their whistle.  The sooner they figure out how to make a decision and live with the consequences the better.  My heckling of the refs is actually helping them develop as people.  The political correctness police are not welcome on my sidelines.  America’s youth is becoming fat, lazy and non-competitive because competition is viewed as “bad”.  I argue that competition is good and is important to the evolution of our species and our survival in what has become an increasingly competitive global economy and dangerous world.  Second place trophies are nothing to be proud of as they serve only as a reminder that you missed your goal; their only useful purpose is as an inspiration to do that next set of reps.  Do you go to a job interview and not care about winning?  Don’t animals eat what they kill (and yes, someone actually kills the meat we eat too – it isn’t grown in plastic wrap)?  And speaking of meat, I expect that the ladies be put on a diet of fish, undercooked red meat and lots of veggies.  No junk food.  Protein shakes are encouraged, and while blood doping and HGH use is frowned upon, there is no testing policy. And at the risk of stating the obvious, blue slushies are for winners.
These are my views and not necessarily the views of the league (but they should be).  I recognize that my school of thought may be an ideological shift from conventional norms.  But it is imperative that we all fight the good fight, get involved now and resist the urge to become sweat-xedo-wearing yuppies who sit on the sidelines in their LL Bean chairs sipping mocha-latte-half-caf-chinos while discussing reality TV and home decorating with other feeble-minded folks.  I want to hear cheering, I want to hear encouragement, I want to get the team pumped up at each and every game and know they are playing for something.
Lastly, we are all cognizant of the soft bigotry that expects women and especially little girls, to be dainty and submissive; I wholeheartedly reject such drivel.  My overarching goal is develop ladies who are confident and fearless, who will stand up for their beliefs and challenge the status quo.  Girls who will kick ass and take names on the field, off the field and throughout their lives.  I want these girls to be winners in the game of life.   Who’s with me?
Go Green Death!
Below are a few questions to start a class discussion.

Name period Youth Sports: Go Green Death

  1. What is your initial reaction to the letter sent out to parents? Would you want your child to play on this team? Why or why not? Explain your reasons.
  2. Contrast the opening of the letter (1st paragraph) with the remainder of the letter
  3. The coach who sent this letter is no longer coaching. The league dismissed him. Do you support this decision? Support your position.
  4. What are the 3 most important goals of youth sports?