My Daughters Coach Got Thrown Out And Why I Have His Back, Written By Renee Ferguson
Today for the first time since my daughter began playing select softball in 2007; her coach was ejected from the game. Some may say there is never a reason for this to happen because the coach is the ultimate model for the players. How the coach reacts and what he or she allows dictates the overall culture of the team. Normally I agree with this but after witnessing today’s situation, I have a slightly different take on this. As a coach, I try my very best to live by the standard above but today I could not be prouder of my daughters coach for being ejected from the game and here is why…
Let me give you some back story first; we were the home team, 1st inning 2nd batter when the head coach of the other team questions the legality of our pitcher. The base umpire calls the play dead in the middle of the pitch because the coach just walked out of the dugout onto the field and began to question the ump without first calling time or waiting for an appropriate time to call time and approach the umpire. As taught, our pitcher who was in mid windup at the time pitched through the abrupt NO PITCH that was called from the base umpire. The result of this action was a no pitch for us and absolutely no warning or punishment for the opposing teams head coach. The base ump confirms our pitcher is legal…all’s well.
We come in to hit and go up by 2 or 3 runs. Next inning begins, the coach of the opposing team is still arguing the pitching issue and after 3 outs are made again comes out of the dugout and questions the umpire about the legality of the pitch due to the amount of drop on the ball. The plate umpire again tells him it’s legal. Throughout the game there were bad calls for both sides and our coach questioned one play at 2nd base where he walked out calmly (or as calmly as he can….he kind of has an angry walk if you know what I mean), and asked the base ump if he was willing to appeal to the home plate umpire, he said no, again all’s well.
As the game wears on I begin to notice the plate ump is spending a lot of time on the other side of the field chatting with the coaching staff of the other team, giving high five, fist bumps and sharing sunflower seeds, etc. At the same time I begin to notice his strike zone becoming smaller and smaller for our pitcher and those drops that were originally strikes are now called balls. Please note I am in no way of accusing anyone of throwing a game or showing preference for another team. I am just giving you my perspective on what happened during the game.
Finally here comes the play in question, our girl is attempting to make it from 2nd to 3rd by sliding into third base. The base umpire calls her out, no big deal so far right? At this point in time our coach tells her to hold her position because he plans on appealing the call. To be specific her position was sitting back in the sliding position. The player was smiling and waiting to get up when the plate umpire, yells at her to get up and get off his field. He addresses the player a 14 year old girl in a very loud and unprofessional manner and continued to do so as our coach called time to walk up to him to discuss the situation. The umpire continued to yell and berate the player for following her coach’s instructions.
Obviously our coach was upset and told him not to speak to his player in that manner and to address the issue with him as the coach. He said he would address it with the girls because he was not going to have her holding her positon to “show up the umpire”. Until this point I have purposely not quoted anyone because I can’t really remember who said what exactly. What I can tell you is that both were angry and upset. One took it out on a 14 year old girl and one took it out on the umpire because he felt it was inappropriate for him to speak to “his girl” that way (in case you are wondering the child in question was NOT our coach’s daughter). At this point in time the umpire yelled at our coach to go back to third, it was very clear that the next step the umpire was going to make was eject our coach if he didn’t be quiet and go back to the coaches box. Our coach complied to keep himself out of trouble and to get the game moving. At the end of the inning our coach approached the plate umpire again to express his displeasure for how the situation was handled and after some back and forth he was ejected from the game.
Some parents on our team thought that he handled the situation incorrectly and let his emotions get the best of him. I on the other hand am in total agreement with how he handled it and if I am being honest here, I am pretty sure I would not have made it to the end of the inning as our coach did. Our coach stood up for his TEAM, his actions showed that his girls deserved a much higher level of respect than they were given and he was willing to sacrifice himself to ensure that they got it. In my opinion, he was the ultimate team player because he made the ultimate sacrifice for to defend his team.
In my lifetime, I have seen parents and coaches get thrown out of games for arguing balls and strikes and safe and outs, so ejections per say were not something I am unfamiliar with and perhaps that is why I feel the way I do. In any case there is one thing I am sure of and it’s that I am proud of her coach for sticking to his guns in hopes of redirecting the umpire’s anger from our player to him. As parents of young women or girls what more could you ask for from a coach? These men and women who volunteer to coach this sport teach our girls so much more than the physical aspect of the sport, and as a mom of a 16 year old kid on the team, I can honestly say I hope my daughter can look back one day and remember this event as the day she learned what chivalry is all about and how she should never settle for anything less than her coach gave her teammate today.