As you know, our family is among the so-called "new comers"
but that hasn't kept us from hearing and finally witnessing some of the
many wrongs that are being committed in our club.
I can't help but wonder what influence we, as parents, are creating
for our children when the question of loyalty, ethics and plain good sportsmanship
enters their hearts and minds. As of now we have lost another swimmer.
True, she was unattached, but most certainly we were led to believe her
intentions were honorable. Where were the simple bonds of loyalty, ethics,
and good sportsmanship shown here? One coach debased, two coaches in collusion,
and one child tossed into an arena. What happened, why did this occur,
and who really lost?
Six short months ago when we approached Harry regarding our children
we knew within 1 hour what we were getting into. The first question asked
was whether we were committed to another coach and if so, had he been notified
of our intentions. Being novices in the swimming world this question seemed
to create overtones of something we hadn't known before and that was the
code of ethics between coaches.
This didn't take long to learn because if there's one thing we all
know about, "The Hawk", it's that he lays his cards on the table
and if you don't like the way the deck looks, you jolly well know what
you can do about it. This is not the "exception", this is the
"rule" and right then and there you begin to feel the "heartbeat"
of the Patton Swim Team.
If you've listened you'll know that it's coach and team--team &
coach--it's one and the same, a unit. It's not parent, team and coach.
Oh yes, we parents are a necessary evil, as the saying goes, but the role
of parent should not divorce itself from its proper and important capacity.
This is the role of support and encouragement, not of criticism and gossip.
Herein begins loyalty, ethics and all other feelings that make honorable
men and women from our off-springs. Herein also lies the beginning of gossip,
rumors and all the feelings that make dishonorable men and women of our
off-springs, and this is the beginning some parents create for their children.
It's so very easy for parents to over-step their boundaries in a program
such a as ours because it's not long before you feel you've gotten to know
"The Hawk." You've watched the way the kids work their hearts
out for this man and you've seen the good relationship that exists between
them. But remember, it's their relationship, not yours!
By now you've begun to hear stories from the past. Most of them are
tales of glory but as in any path of life there are stories of failure
and as adults, the tales of failure are those we tend to dwell upon for
these are situations that could befall any of us, particularly if we choose
to unbalance the coach-team relationship.
There is not one among us who is qualified to train a champion. By
your own choice you have selected the coach and team you want your child
to swim with and when any parent takes it upon himself to criticize coaching
methods employed by Harry he is indeed infringing upon the very core of
Oh yes, I know more about swim times, form, and general background
than I did six months ago. I know when my kids "phony out" I'm
going to catch "H" from the Hawk and the children know that there
is going to be trouble at home because of it. I also know that it's too
easy for a parent to overlook and some parents to even be blinded by their
children's actions so that when criticism if given by the coach the parent
puts up the defensive argument. Not the child!
Now, we're off to the "races!" The first thing that happens
is that we take it home and start undermining the swimmer and after a few
more of these sessions, over a period of time, the decision goes something
like this I would presume. "Let's put our child into another club,
who needs Patton anyway?"
So off you trot but in the meantime, think about the man you first
talked to. You knew he was strict, you knew he wanted to make the best
swimmer possible out of your child, you knew he worked the kids hard but
above and beyond it all you knew he was a dedicated and ethical coach.
Your child can swim well and is on his way. Yes, you probably could
go to another coach and not have him criticize as much because he is now
a swimmer. The groundwork has been laid but who accomplished this--not
you! Your child knows, his teammates know but because you, as a parent,
felt you had a right to interfere you teach your child that disloyalty
is acceptable when criticism is given. Heaven hope that someday this very
same child doesn't turn against you.
To me, it is unforgivable to think that anyone should question Harry
Hauck's ability as a coach and if anyone wants to question any-
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