It was on a Thursday…..
I am getting around the house blasting my music while I’m cleaning. My kids will be home in less than two hours from school so I’m moving quickly. If I can stop dancing my work would get done a lot quicker.
5000 steps later, dinner is cooked and the house is clean. Now in walks, my 8-year-old, talking my head off but that’s what she does every day. I call her mouth of the South. She is telling me how gross this boy is in her class. I mean he does talk with his mouth full of food so he isn’t the most charming gentlemen around. An hour later my son comes home feeling a little down because football season is over and he has more energy stored up then he knows what to do with. Another hour and a half rolls by and my daughter walks in from basketball practice with this odd look on her face.
Let me take a step back. My daughter was in 10th grade at this time and trying basketball out for the first time. She wanted to try something different and step outside her comfort zone. She has played soccer her whole life so dribbling with her hands would definitely be a step in a different direction. She, however, wasn’t too thrilled about her teammates or the coach but she is a team player and will always give 100%.
I digress, on this particular day, I knew something wasn’t right. But, I have learned to give my older two their space and wait for them to come to me. This technique usually works unless they take to long to come to me.
She said, mom, I think there is a situation that I need to talk to you about. Of course, I dropped everything and gave her my full attention. She proceeded to tell me that at last nights basketball game her coach told the team that he was proud of his white girl team for beating their opponents (majority-minority team). Mind you my daughter isn’t white nor can she be mistaken for white. There are also 2 other non-white players on the team. So what he means by white girl team is beyond me. But he wasn’t finished with his imprudent behavior. He told the girls that he thought they would be quicker and destroy us on the court. All the girls on the “white girl team” began to laugh and congratulate themselves.
Did I forget to mention that my daughter’s team has a history of calling black players nigga and making them keep to themselves? Purposely whispering with each other and excluding blacks or anyone nonwhite. The coach knows of the racism so to take part in it is infuriating.
I called the school and set up a meeting for the very next day. The coach tried to talk about the weather but the look on my face made him sit back down in his chair and stare at the ground. He tried to deny saying it but the truth was stacked up against him. All the girls had already confessed that he said it. My daughter held her ground and said that she wasn’t a liar and what would she have to gain by making this up.
After an hour of my fist hitting the table and me screaming tell the truth and my husband being the calm rational one that he is. The coach burst into tears and confessed that he said it and was ashamed that he had done so. My question to him was simply, “Why did you think the other team would crush our team, was it because they are black and did your comment about them looking fast have anything to do with them being black”?
While wiping the tears from his face he explained that he had seen them play before and they looked fast. Mind you, he had only seen 2 of the girls play.
Coach and I use that word loosely, looked at me while still crying and promised that he would apologize to the girls as he did to my daughter and would change his behavior.
Do I believe that he changed his behavior?
Very few people do. WE as a society have to stop looking at the color of someone’s skin and then assume that they lack or excel in athletic ability. This is something that a lot of us are guilty of. We might not verbalize it but we think it. However, if you are working with children and trying to have a unified team, you might need to have restraint and leave color and race out of the conversation.
The one element that I wanted the coach to take away from this meeting was UNITY. I put my kids in extracurricular activities to teach them how to work as a TEAM not divide the TEAM. I urge all coaches to teach athletes to rely on each other and learn how to operate like a well-oiled machine. Boasting over a win is one thing but shouting “I can’t believe that my white girl team won” is another and will not be tolerated.
You could have chosen any blog to read but you chose mine and I’m honored.