Tuesday, January 28, 2014

B is for bully

Hello! Here is my first evening post since I began this blog. Normally, I am either teaching or reading in the evening and do not have any desire to think (oh, that sounds bad....). Anyway, today definitely warrants a post by the end of the day.....why?

Well, it all began on Friday night when the big kid had a so-so outing. Rather than striking everyone out, he had a bit of a rough patch but was able to work his way out of it. Approaching the coach about the command issue, the 'coach' berated him and told him that he was not going to pitch for him if he tried to strike everyone out. I know that I covered this in a previous post, but there needs to be a set up for current events.....

The head coach asked him to make an appointment with him to chat for 45 minutes today. When the kid tried repeatedly to make the appointment, the coach would not return his texts. Great communication skills, right? As of this moment, the coach has still not responded to him.

On to today....as the kid was long tossing with his partner at 7 am ish, his arm went numb. Panicking, he followed protocol and went immediately to the pitching coach. Here is how the encounter went:

Player: "Coach, I have to tell you that my arm is sore and I cannot feel my left hand."

Coach, screaming: "You make me effin' sick to my stomach. You are an 'effin' spoiled person. Your 'effin' face makes me 'effin' ill. You are an 'effin' retard. Did you hear me? An 'effin' retard. You are an 'effin' head case....get the %$#*)) out of here. You're making me get 'effin' sick." This went on for several minutes.

As he finished his tirade, the big kid almost ran out of the office and out to his car where he called his father in tears. "Dad, you should have heard him......" This tirade is topped off with the kid's inability to make a fist. Talk about devastation.....talk about inappropriate behavior....talk about a person who I want to take my closed fist and shove it where the sun does not shine.....

OK, on to my call....it was just as pitiful and tearful as the one to dad and my heart broke for him. First, he has been climbing back from an injury and trying to regain his confidence. Then as he follows the team protocol, he is screamed at and humiliated. AS he spoke, I asked him if he wanted me to come to school to take care of the medical attention that he needed, but mostly, he needed someone to talk to who would understand his situation and not call him out for being 'effin' soft. I also encouraged him to see the psychologist which he promised that he would.

"Yeah, mom, please come...."

Before I left, I contacted my prayer warriors to send their prayers on his behalf to the Big Coach in the sky. After all, BP momma can only do so much and needed big time reinforcements. 

On to campus in a big hurry....equipped with a large cup of coffee, an apple, and banana, I hit the road with everything that I needed except my laptop. Why would I need that when I was going to speak with the kid? So, I left it on my desk which I would soon regret.

End of evening post......

Good morning. The sun is not peeking through the clouds, but I know that it is there and will return to warm us some day....

Tuesday morning: back to my story.....

I hit the turnpike as fast as I could for a number of reasons. First, the big guy needed a shoulder to lean on....Second, because I had two cups of coffee at this point and not only was my mind racing but so was the accelerator of the car..... On to the mountains to make sense of what had happened.

In the three hours that I was on the road, I realized several important facts....1. I can make it three hours after drinking two cups of coffee without stopping at a road stop. 2. I did not have any money in my wallet. Oh, perhaps I had a few quarters, but none for tolls. Thank goodness for the EZ pass,  otherwise, I would have been trying to explain it to the authorities. 3. Whoever invented satellite radio is a genius, 'cause I had a multitude of venues to listen to as my mood swung from doubt and despair (Catholic channel) to determination to help (Sixties on 6....) to the need to laugh (Comedy channel)....A genius, I tell you.....As I drove up the mountain, I heard Sam and Dave's famous song: "Hold on, I'm coming...." Yeah, hold on, kiddo....BP mom is coming and has a plan or five. An idiot coach will be going down in flames and will thusly need the Catholic channel....'cause I was on a mission.

As I got closer to the campus, I got my 90th phone call. "Uh, mom, I have to meet with the trainer at noon...then I have to go to class...can I meet you around three?"

Three? Dude, it's noon and I don't have my laptop....what do I do in the snow for three hours? What indeed?

Not a problem...so I hit the library and got work done in the computer lab. While there, I checked out the student body....they had the hoodies, cell phones attached to their ears, boots, and looked miserable. Dang, I do not miss those days as I saw the misery etched on their faces...another project...another paper...another quiz...another test...when do I get to party?

Back to the kid.....after his class, we met in the library. I have to give him credit. He did not skip class even though he was devastated by his injury. We hugged and walked to my incredibly dirty car. As I drove, he began to re-hash the story of his hand going numb, sore elbow, and arm tightness. BP mom's diagnosis: pinched nerve....due to unnecessary pressure and stress.

As we chatted, he shared more of what was going on....my question was 'does the coach talk to all of the players like this or just injured ones?'

"just me...." Are you a bit paranoid? "No, the other guys commented on it..."

As we sat at a steak place (I acquiesced to the need for some primal protein), he continued to unload and as we talked more, I could see that he was relaxing perhaps for the first time in a long time.

"I am plotting my revenge." "Whoa, dude, you have to work with him. He is the key to you getting into games. You need him as much as he needs you. Be very very careful with this plan."

Then I asked him: "Are you going to have a conversation with him?" He replied: "No, never again. He will have to approach me. He is dead to me." Nice...dead....but this dead guy has to fill out the roster before he is embalmed for each game so, again, you have to work with him.

Another annoying tidbit was that the head coach had asked him to make an appointment for yesterday and the coach never returned his texts. WTH? This compounded his anxiety.

My next question, or comment actually was: "Perhaps all college coaches are like this..." "No, mom, they are not."

Let's go back to the beginning....he has been the model athlete...first to stadium...last to leave....works out like a fiend...studies the game...is an honor student (yes, he figured it out!)...does not make waves...is an all around good guy. Yet, he is the brunt of the pitching coach's venom. Honestly, he has been a very easy kid to raise, so what's the deal?

I continued:" Remember high school? The coach had no idea how to deal with you either. However, you were able to break through. You are on the cusp and it will happen." As we chatted about high school, he recalled the days when his coach would humiliate him when he would throw a ball. He was fearful of walking someone knowing he would be pulled out of the game and cursed at. Ahhh....baseball.....

Now comes the fascinating part...."Dude, remember how I preached taking care of the body, mind, and spirit? Well, I did that, because with all good times comes tough times and the whole person can handle whatever is thrown at them. I was not just trying to get you to church each week, I wanted you to be in tune with each area of your life as you need to dig deep and get out of holes."

Uh-huh...but it was at this point that I could see that the light went on and he understood what I was saying.

Back to the "R" word....R=revenge....

"I am plotting my revenge." Sigh.....

"I am NOT coming back here for a 5th year I am going to a school closer to home so that I can be close to my PT and doctors. I am also going to live at home (yikes!) and save money. Even if they beg me, I am not coming back here. When I make it, I will not acknowledge him."

Is this statement coming from hurt or a truly great plan? After all, a few of the universities in the area recruited him. One coach said to him: "When you are ready to leave this school, come back to me." How did this coach know that the kid was going to want to jump ship? How indeed?

The last part of the conversation before I left him to his accounting tutor, was my final analysis of what had happened. Here is BP mom's take on it:

The big leftie is a good kid who follows the rules. He was late last week for the first time in four years and reported it to the head coach who reamed him out. He then had to pay for it with extra running and weights. He 'owned' what he had done, despite the other players who come either drunk or hung over and often late. They never have to do extra work outs. Only my kid....

When he hurt his arm yesterday, it was due to muscular tension. As an elite athlete, his muscles are tight and perhaps he did not stretch enough. The feeling was coming back into his hand, so the trainer's therapy, ibuprophen and prayers were working. The coach threw a fit. Why?

It had nothing to do with the kid and everything to do with the kid. By that I mean, the coach saw his meal ticket injured and rather be concerned what it meant for the player, he saw what it meant for him. In other words, he only thought of himself and therefore, reacted like a twelve year old. As a narcissist, this coach could only see that he was down a guy rather than seeing how he could help him to regain feeling in his arm. As he screamed and shouted, he reverted to a two year old whose favorite Tonka truck was broken and his momma would not buy him a new one. This is a man who is not a man but a bully.

What is a bully? Well, a bully is someone who makes himself feel better by belittling and picking on a person who cannot fight back. In this case, Buddy could not fight back because he needed to be on the team to achieve his dream. So, he was powerless to do anything. A bully....

Now, as I left campus, I knew that my job was done. I did not have to bring him home to see his PT or surgeon because this time the trainers can  handle it. I was also able to feed the kid and talk him off the ledge. Was he happy when I left? Nope....but he knew that if he was in a foxhole, the best person to be next to him was his momma and family. We are all supporting him.

Driving down the mountain, I knew that I needed to stop to make it home in one piece.....stopping for gas, I was feeling the need for Skittles...yep...Skittles.....browsing the shelves in the gas station, I stopped immediately at the oh-so-healthy Snickers bars. After all, they have the peanut protein and chocolatey nougat, and enough sugar to make it to my destination. All in all, it was the best Snickers bar I ever ate. Sheesh...it's the little things, you know....by the way, I had to dig into the bottom f my purse to pull out 1.39$ in change.

Upon arriving at home, all dad could rant about was that he will see that once the big kid is safe from retribution, he will contact the coach and share with him the letter that he is going to send the Board of Trustees, Athletic Director, and President of the university. It will mention point by point the treatment that he has incurred at the hands of their highly paid coaches. Hopefully, this coach has leased his home rather than paid for it. If dad gets his way, he won't be able to get a job coaching little league.

With that very lengthy post completed, there are a number of things that I have forgotten, but the kid has not. He has documented every word in his journal and will specifically use this incident as fuel to achieve his goals. Hang in there dude. I will always be there for you no matter what....By the way, the best revenge is to live well....start living and enjoy the journey. There will always be bullies and idiots out there. Show them that they cannot defeat you. You are stronger than they are.....And so...carry on....(see video below)....

Got to run and work....


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