Tuesday, September 30, 2008

I'm being blackmailed

Or at least it feels that way. My son's football coach has threatened to remove Kevin from the roster because of my disagreements with him over his coaching techniques and attitude. My son's coach (we'll call him Coach M) is also the president of our youth football organization, so going to the board with this will do no good.

This is instructional football, to give the boys a leg up when it comes time to try out for a team in junior and senior high. I signed Kevin up, believing that he would be taught to play and understand the game, and that he would be given equal opportunity to play during games. I never expected him to play the whole game, and I do understand that coaches have a "WIN!!" attitude that influences their roster more so that giving all of the kids the chance to play and make a difference during games. Unfortunately, youth sports have gotten so competitive that teaching has taken a backseat; only winning matters. Keep in mind my son is only EIGHT years old. He's a CHILD, a fact that is apparently overlooked by youth football.

Here's the deal:
Last year was Kevin's first year on the team. It was a learning year, to be sure. He was one of the youngest on the team, had no experience other than watching the Bungles on tv or playing pass in the backyard, and kept getting flipped all over the field, between offense and defense. He was so confused about what his job was (blocking vs. tackling), he just never "got it". The team was also made up of 7 and 8 year olds.

This year, things were supposed to be different. They separated the team- one 7 and one 8 team, which should have resulted in more playing time in and of itself. Coach M said he could have a dedicated defense and offense this year, and that the coaches were all excited about the year and the changes they were going to put in place. I was very excited as well, because it seemed like things were really taking a positive turn. I'm no longer excited, if you can't tell.

Kevin hasn't been playing much. He was put on starting offense, but was taken out of the game after just a play or two for the first two games. He wasn't doing anything wrong (more so than any of the other boys), but he was being taken out. I asked Coach M about the dedicated offense and defense, and he said "No, I just said we would have a dedicated STARTING offense and defense." Apparently "starting offense" means that you START the game, but don't FINISH the game. Since this was an email conversation, I rolled my virtual eyes, and let it go. Next game, Kevin only played a few plays the entire game. This trend has continued now for three weeks.

There are probably 6 kids (out of 20) that sit out the majority of the games, about 6 kids that never come OUT of the game, and the rest funnel in and out throughout the whole game. It's heartbreaking to see him so syked up about PLAYING football, only to NOT play football, so I asked Coach M why Kevin hasn't been playing much, and what he needs to do to change that. I pointed out that I paid a lot of money for him to PLAY football; not WATCH football, and that this is instructional ball for eight year old kids. When we're down 20-nothing in the 4th, there's no reason the benchwarmers can't play- they're certainly not going to cause us to lose the game. I also told him that we have kids that are playing the whole game who are faking injuries just to be able to sit out. I was blunt, but not rude.

The reply ranged from "He does not understand or want to follow instructions" to "Yes, I do care about winning. I am not going to teach boys to accept losing", both of which have some truth to them. Kevin is a true blonde. If you've read any of my "Kevinisms" posts, you'll know that I recognize his "duh" factor. But that does not mean he is not listening, and is openly defiant about not following instructions. He just takes a lot of reinforcement of the same set of instructions which he hasn't been getting. Each coach has a different idea of what he should be doing and they each tell them what they want him to do, then the next coach comes along and changes it again. How confusing, eh?? It's no wonder he "doesn't understand" if each coach has a different set of instructions!

Coach M also said "I have told all the boys esp after the last game that I will play anyone that is ready to play and wants to be in there." That is simply not true, because if it was true, Kevin wouldn't be sitting out the majority of the games.

We also have one assistant coach, whose wife is a Board member, who is completely disrespectful to the boys. Last week he wasn't happy with their aggressiveness at the end of Thursday's practice. He yelled out to his Board member wife, 'HEY BONNIE! Do you have any skirts in the truck? I need some skirts for these GIRLS out here!'. Nice. This is only the most recent example of his negative, degrading, insulting, and humiliating behaviors. But Coach M hasn't done anything about it, so he apparently supports negative reinforcement. What a great message. Has anyone ever really been motivated to do better after receiving nothing but NEGATIVE reinforcement? uh. no.

Here's the part that REALLY got my hackles up though:
We have a number of boys that practice very hard and understand winning.... It is also not fair to the boys that work hard to have the game lost by other boys that do not understand or play with same aggressions.

So what you're saying is that not all the boys practice hard and understand winning. I'm throwing the bullshit card on that one, Coach. EVERY kid on our team works their ass off at practice, and they all understand winning. How can you say they don't all work hard, when you drive them into the ground for two hours, three nights a week? Hell, how can they NOT understand winning when they get their asses chewed out for LOSING? And considering that we've lost the last three games, with the same core group of kids on the field, are you in turn saying that those boys didn't work hard enough, or understand winning? I don't think so. How insulting.

After reading his reply, I was FURIOUS. I replied, and he said that he didn't want to continue the conversation 'electronically' and to let him know when I was ready to talk about it in person. That means he doesn't want it in writing, and wants to talk to me about it after practice. I don't stick around after practice for ANYTHING on a school night. Practice doesn't end until 8 or 8:15, and then I have to get dinner, homework, and baths done before the kids can go to bed. It's LATE- sticking around after practice only makes it later, so why not use email as a communication tool? I'd show up early, except that I have a hard time making it to practice by 6:30 as it is. Besides, email lets me put my thoughts on paper, in logical order, as opposed to a heated verbal conversation like this one was gearing up to be.

Then the organization sent out a parent satisfaction survey today, so I replied honestly, and printed off our email conversation. I knew no one on the board, or the parents on the team, would believe what I said Coach M told me. I have talked to, and emailed, other parents, who have all agreed that things are messed up and need to be fixed. Those same parents asked to read our email exchange (I brought a copy to attach to my parent survey to back up some of the things I said in the survey). I obliged, and they were as outraged as I was.

But after practice I got a call from Coach M who told me that if I continue to be "disruptive", Kevin will be taken off the roster. He said that several parents told him that I was showing the email around. I told him I was, at their request, and that I only discussed it with parents who asked to read it.

Which brings me back to the title of the post.
I'm being blackmailed. Keep your mouth shut, or your son will suffer the consequences.
How fucked up is that?

So, because my son wants to play, I will keep my mouth shut, and I'll keep my opinions to myself, because I want to protect my son's right to play. I have no voice, but I do have a blog, and I will write when I have to get things out. I just can't talk about it. What a fucked up situation.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

The first debate


OK, it didn't put me to sleep, but it sure as hell didn't hold my undivided attention for two hours. You can find the entire transcript here.
My favorite part though?

When McCain called Obama out on his lack of involvement in Afghanistan, even though he's the chairman of the Congressional committee that oversees our NATO involvement in Afghanistan. Obama's reply was laughable:

Look, I'm very proud of my vice presidential selection, Joe Biden, who is the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

In other words, I'm handing over foreign relations to my running mate, because I'm an idiot and can't handle it.

I seriously can't believe that people are really struggling between who to vote for!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Milblog Conference 2008 AAR

Friday night:
HOLY SHIT.... I cannot even begin to count the number of blackmail moments from the Penthouse Club party! *thud* I had NO idea how much Penthouse does for our troops, completely outside of the public eye. They were absolutely incredibly gracious hosts. There were no dancers (unless you count Chuck, Matt, Jimbo, Greyhawk, CJ, and Marcus pole dancing, which was an absolute RIOT) in our room. The only nudity was a beautifully done naked female torso photo of billboard size in the room. Centerfolds showed up to autograph headshot photos. Penthouse provided us with transportation to the party, open bar for 2 hours (more than enough time for us all to get SLOSHED), thumb drives, a free year's subscription (if you wanted it), and a free copy of this month's magazine, which features a GREAT article written by Blackfive about wounded warriors. SO... I can honestly say that I picked up a Penthouse for the articles!! hahaha

Four fantastic panels, but no President or Sec Def address this time! The SecDef was scheduled to provide opening remarks, but his schedule got too tight so LTG. Caldwell stepped in for him. He emphasises the importance of blogging by Soldiers in the field. After all- they're the Army's best promotional material. LTG Caldwell, the commander of the US Army Combined Arms Center. Graduation from the school REQUIRES blogging- that's how strongly LTG Caldwell believes in the power of blogs.

My favorite was the Blogger's Roundtable discussion, featuring the Secretary of the Army, Pete Geren, and the new Army Chief of Public Affairs, Major General Kevin Bergner. They re-emphasised Caldwell's dedication to allowing ALL Soldiers to blog, and even encouraging them.

More to come later- must get on a plane now. WHOOO HOO! WHAT A WEEKEND!

OK, I've found time to BREATH again.
One of the things Chuck Z brought up with Secy. Geren was training soldiers how to blog, rather than relying upon their instincts to know what to write about, and what not to write about. He said something along the lines of "We don't send soldiers into the field with a weapon they've never used before. I've heard it said that the soldier in the field is the Army's best weapon against media propaganda, which is one of the reasons blogging is encouraged. However, we don't train our soldiers HOW to blog. If we trained them, we could eliminate many of the Opsec issues that shut down blogs."


I loved that point. Secy. Geren said he would consider it. I'm VERY interested in finding out if Geren really does act upon that suggestion. During his talk with us, he mentioned something that came out of a previous Roundtable. He said a parent (Carla, Some Soldier's Mom), said that the military is so focused on the spouses, they forget about communicating with the PARENTS. He took that to heart, and as soon as the original Roundtable was over, went to his staff and asked for action on this item. And he has put this item on top of his meeting agenda with his staff. It showed all of us that the Roundtable participants really do value what we have to say, and they act on it. I was thoroughly impressed.

I got to meet a lot of "new" friends this year too! JP and his gorgeous and sweet wife (milblogging.com), CJ and Marcus (A Soldier's Perspective and You Served), Bouhammer, David Marron (Thunder Run), Travis (How to kill people), Toby Nunn (did you know he wrote a book between his first and second deployments?? It's on my "buy" list.), Mr. and Mrs. Greyhawk, Laughing Wolf, Wolf, Froggy and Grim (who all write at Blackfive now) Sarah (Learning to Grok) and many others I know I'm forgetting to mention.

Plus, it gave me a chance to reconnect with "old" friends, like my roomie, Boston Maggie, LL, SK, Jack, John and Beth Donovan, Chuck and Carren Z, Matt (who, thanks to CJ, we brought to his knees during a "rock star" prank. OMG.. that was hilarious), Andi, AWTM, HF6, Sean and Heather (It was SO SO SO good to see them together again! Warmed my heart), BCR, Barb (that's "Bob" to you, Maggie), AS (but not the Mrs this year), Concrete Bob, Carla, and again, many others I've forgotten to mention.

Some were greatly missed this year- Keith, Lex, Taco and his parents, Pain, Hook, Joan, Lynn, Leta and Kev. All had either deployments, homecomings, or family or cash commitments that kept them away this year.

At the end of the conference, Mrs. Greyhawk reminded us all of some we will not see again until we're reunited in heaven, including one of my favorite milbloggers, Brian Delaplane of Firepower Forward. Delaplane's death earlier this year was like a punch in the gut. I cried for a couple of days following his death, and cried for him again Saturday afternoon. JP and Mrs. Greyhawk read from last posts from a couple of bloggers, making us all tear up. All day long you could hear rustling, bottles opening, whispers, giggles, and people going in and out of the room. Not during Mrs. G's talk. You couldn't hear anything but her voice, and sniffles throughout the room. Stoic John Donovan broke up too, when he reminded everyone that at The Castle, when we lose a patriot, We Dance... to "Taps". Damn. Not a dry eye in the place.

This year's conference was a BLAST, but I thought it lost its focus, being in Vegas. Vegas is a party town, and trust me- we partied like rock stars, but that's not really what milbloggers are all about. At dinner Saturday night, Andi said that she wanted to move the conference back to DC next year. We all agreed that would be a good move. We're milbloggers, and being in DC gives us a chance to honor our country, not just get sloppy drunk, before and after the sessions. I really missed what had become an annual visit to the war memorials and Arlington, and I'm looking forward to returning to DC next year, with the man I hope will by my husband by then, MSG Keith.


Sunday, September 14, 2008

Oh, Ye of Little Faith

Now, I know that the weather service isn't always 100% accurate, but how can you ignore the fact that a major hurricane is heading your way? Hell, I'm scrambling to change Cub Scout meeting plans for Monday night because we *might* get thunderstorms from Ike, which *could* disrupt my plans for an outdoor meeting. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that a hurricane that has been steadily tracking toward Texas and Louisianna for well over a WEEK, and a mighty strong storm at that, MEANS YOU NEED TO GET THE HELL OUT OF THE WAY OF THIS STORM???

How many times will people who live in the DIRECT FUCKING PATH of a major hurricane ignore the evacuation warnings, and then whaa-whaa over the response of emergency crews who CAN'T GET TO THEM because they stayed in an EVACUATION AREA, against the recommendation of those they are now counting on to rescue their sorry asses!!!!!

Authorities hoped to spare thousands of Texans — 140,000 by some estimates who ignored orders to flee ahead of Hurricane Ike — from another night among the destruction.


How many rescuers will be put in harm's way to spare you from your own ignorance?
How much taxpayer money will be spent on your rescue from imminent stupidity?

I have no problem with rescues that take place in areas that were thought to be safe, but ANYONE who stayed on Galveston Island deserves all that Mother Nature throws at them. Seriously people.. you stayed on a below sea level island during a hurricane????? Spare me the pity parties about to begin for these people.

I also, as you should all know, have no problem supporting (financially and otherwise) the clean up and recovery efforts for those affected by any disaster. But I have a HUGE problem with people who a) do not heed evac warnings, and b) develop a sense of entitlement about their rescue and recovery.

I say: if you don't evacuate, you get the rescue bill. I have the same feelings toward fuckhead explorers who climb mountains or go hiking without proper gear or tracking equipment and, then, when lost, require rescuers to go looking for them. I think Washington (state) has such a law now- get lost and require extraction because of your own stupidity, and you get the bill.

(btw, thank you FoxNews for pointing out that the masses that now need rescuing had ample warning to get the fuck outta Dodge, and are now crying out for help)

Friday, September 12, 2008


1. I did not forget 9/11. I simply didn't write about it here, but I did at The Castle and Blonde Sagacity.

2. I am going to be traveling A LOT for the rest of the year.

3. Travel began this week, but the trip I'm looking forward to is to the Milblog Conference in Vegas next weekend!! OMG. I cannot WAIT until the Blackfive party Friday night!

4. Kevin's guinea pig ATE MY HAIR tonight. I shit you not. I was holding him while Kevin was cleaning out the cage. He gets nervous outside of his cage and often grinds his teeth. He was doing this while I was holding him, or so I thought. I was WRONG. He was CHEWING ON MY HAIR! Holy shit. He bit off several very small chunks from what I can tell.

5. And last but not least, don't forget to vote for LL, Chromed Curses, as the winner for this year's Military Supporter Milbloggie award!!

Friday, September 05, 2008

Dear Mr. Obama


Thanks, Joe. You're a great American, and from what I hear, so is your Vietnam Vet Dad.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Double Standard

One of the things that has really bugged the crap out of me over the Loony Lefty complaints about Sarah Palin is about her being a working mother. I've heard so many people say things about her being a "bad mother" because her daughter is pregnant, and she went back to work as governor when her baby was just a few days old. People attacking the Palin's sense of family values point toward the pregancy as a failure, but completely ignore the fact that Bristol is KEEPING the baby and that she has the full support of her family. To me, that exemplifies "family values". Instead of killing her child, she's CREATING a family- how can that be anything other than having a strong sense of responsibility and family??

Anyway, it's the double standard of comparing Palin's motherhood to Obama's fatherhood that ticks me off.

No one has complained about what a bad father Obama must be, considering how much time he's spent away from his girls over the past several years. No one has complained about what a bad mother Michelle is, considering how much time she has also spent on the campaign trail and away from the kids. However, in a world bent on finding fault in our Republican VP nominee, her motherhood has been put up for debate.

Today I found a Fox editorial that addresses this very topic much better than I could.

When a father climbs a dangerous mountain and dies, we mourn. When a mother does, we question her judgment. How could she?

I have no doubt that Barack Obama can count on his fingers the number of times he has been home in the last 19 months to put his two beautiful daughters to bed. In interviews, he says as much, expressing his gratitude to his mother-in-law, who has taken over many parenting responsibilities during the campaign, given that his wife has been away a great deal of the time as well, making appearances and raising money. Does this make him a “bad father"? Should it undercut his claim to the presidency? Of course not.

Why should Sarah Palin be different?

Damn straight.
Why should Sarah Palin be different? No reason at all... except that her opponents have nothing to fight against her with other than her sex and parental status. What a farce.

Monday, September 01, 2008

OK, I'm impressed

Obama says Palin's family off-limits

For as many objections as I have to Obama's political views... this was a classy, respectful move.

"Let me be as clear as possible," Obama said. "I think people's families are off-limits, and people's children are especially off-limits. This shouldn't be part of our politics. It has no relevance to Gov. Palin's performance as governor or her potential performance as a vice president."

Obama said reporters should "back off these kinds of stories" and noted that he was born to an 18-year-old mother.

"How a family deals with issues and teenage children, that shouldn't be the topic of our politics, and I hope that anybody who is supporting me understands that's off-limits."

The thing I'm not buying is that there was an internet rumor floating around that Palin's 4-month-old baby is actually her daughter's baby, so the McCain/Palin campaign decided to "come clean" about the story. I haven't heard this rumor. She's 5 months pregnant- there's no way they could hide the preganacy during the entire campaign. That's why I think they made the announcement- they simply couldn't hide it much longer.

I also respect the Palin's response to Bristol's pregnancy. They're supporting her, but aren't sugar-coating the situation, saying "Bristol and the young man she will marry are going to realize very quickly the difficulties of raising a child, which is why they will have the love and support of our entire family."

As a fellow child of a teenage mother... I wish Bristol and her boyfriend good luck. If they truly have the support of their family like my parents did, they'll be ok.