Sunday, September 5, 2010

Blame Game!

Last month my daughter attended an elite camp. The camp directors chose four "all-star" games to address every kid in the camp. To say the camp featured elite kids would be an understatement. Each "all-star" game grouped players according to their perceived ability. Whether this grouping was an accurate assessment of each player's abilities is debatable but all but one game was decided by single digits. These games seemed to be pretty evenly matched.

When the "all-star" games were chosen, I was livid. My child was chosen to participate in the "second all-star" game. This was not the top game with the best talent. I was so incensed that she was not chosen to compete against the best players that I contemplated not allowing my child to participate in the "second class" game. I felt her showing during the camp proved her standing and her eventual place in the "top all-star" game. In my rush to judgement, I failed to realize that the "second all-star game" featured at least six players ranked in the HoopGurlz 100 in their respective classes. This was no generic "all-star" game. But in my disappointment, I played the BLAME GAME!

I initially blamed the tournament directors. They stacked earlier teams which allowed certain players to shine since they had more talented teammates(help). They are underestimating my child. They obviously have no clue about talent. THEY THEY THEY!

In reflection, I realize that I was blinded like many parents are regarding their children. Instead of assessing why my child was not chosen for the top game, I automatically blamed others. I thought I was beyond the blame game. Being a coach and talent evaluator, I get blamed often. Parents blame me for their child not shining. In hindsight, I am very disappointed in myself.

On the drive home, I remembered an argument I had with a parent of a former player some time ago. This parent blamed me for his child playing tentative and not shining. In our heated discussion, he went on to "brag" about almost getting his child's former teacher fired because his child received a failing grade. Again, the former teacher of his child was in hot water because his child EARNED a failing grade. His reasoning for getting this teacher in serious trouble was that the teacher failed to do his/her job because THEY failed to notify him that his child was in danger of failing. Never mind parent portals that allow parents to check grades online daily. Never mind holding the child accountable. It was the teacher's fault, not his and surely not his child's.

My anger during that drive home became embarrassment. I felt ashamed that I started to blame others for personal failures. My child has never been trained by someone other than me. Her weaknesses as a player are my weaknesses as a trainer. My child is extremely dedicated to the game but so was EVERY player in that "top game". Instead of pointing fingers, I should (and did) implement a program to address her weaknesses. Instead of getting mad, I needed to hold my child accountable for working harder than the girls who made the "top game". Did she want to make that top game? Yes! She too felt slighted by the "second game" choice and showed her displeasure by dominating opposing HoopGurlz 100 players three years her senior in the game. She came out and scored at will. She led her team to a 20 point blow-out, the only blow out among all of the all-star games. If she would have played with the same urgency throughout the camp, she would have been picked for the "top game". If she played with a chip on her shoulder and with something to prove throughout the entire weekend, the camp directors would have had to choose her. It was her fault. It was my fault! No one else!

As the high school season approaches, get ready for the excuses. The coach will always be at fault. The teammates are to blame. The college recruiters are idiots and obviously do not know talent. Never mind that their livelihood depends on their ability to judge and recruit talent. At some point, we all play the blame game. The winners are those who learn to stop blaming the fastest!