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Had five kids show up for practice today. Head coach wasn't there either. Of those that missed, two reported a stomach bug, one had a school event, one is still injured from last week's game, and one might not be playing anymore. Our practice location moved this week because the YMCA is a bunch of dicks, so we now practice on a baseball field. This actually works out pretty well because the fence keeps the parents out of my practice and the field has lights which will come in handy in the next couple weeks. The downside is that we have to share a field with the Tigers on Thursdays. Over the past few weeks, I've started to develop a relationship with the Tigers' head coach, which is helpful because he's a decent coach who also coached last year. He's also a pretty solid guy and has helped me out with getting practice locations and dealing with parents/other coaches. Futhermore, he's an NOC Board member.
At the beginning of "practice", I went to talk to the mother of one of my missing players. Joe was at practice, but Teddy wasn't. Both are adopted, they aren't biological brothers. After speaking with their mom for about 20 minutes, I found out that both Teddy and Joe had been badly abused before being adopted, Teddy was old enough to remember, Joe wasn't. They have very different personalities. Joe took to me almost immediately, but Teddy is very shy and careful, and it takes him a while to warm up to anyone. Teddy had a great practice on Tuesday and I told him he would be starting at QB (he usually plays HB and his brother plays QB, but Joe has been playing around too much at practice for the past few weeks). At the end of practice, Tony, Dave's dad, was getting on the kids about paying attention in practice because we will play more big teams and if they don't practice hard, they might get hurt. This scarred Teddy a bit. He has also been getting bullied at school for the last week or so, but no one found out about it until today. I'm sure this also had a lot to do with his decision. I don't think it's final though, I think it has just been a rough week for him. He's a really good kid, so I hate to see that. I've developed a really good relationship with him and his brother, so regardless if he plays or not, I still hope he comes to games and practices.
Since we only had five players, I did some tackling drills (w/dummies) and blocking drills (one on one). At the last practice, I got the bright idea to send kids that were acting up in practice to go see "Coach" Charlie to do up-downs. Charlie was actually pretty good at being the discipline coach, making them do a fair number of up downs, and it kept him away from my practice. He's also the only coach with a whistle! During blocking drills, Turner, Charlie's son and the biggest kid on the team," was getting dominated by everyone, like he always does. He just doesn't even try. Charlie got super pissed and started yelling and cussing at Turner like he is wont to do. Turner is pretty non responsive, so Charlie grabs Turner by the facemask and starts dragging him towards the 1B dugout (we're in right field at the time, the Tigers are in left). Turner goes limp and starts screaming, so Charlie picks him up off the ground (still by his facemask) as he's still dragging him. This happens a few times before they finally reach the dugout. Not surprised by the events that just took place, I turned my attention back to my four remaining players and our blocking drill, rearranging the players so that they aren't still staring at Turner and Charlie. We finish our drill, do conditioning, and leave.
As I'm leaving the gate, Tigers' coach comes to talk to me about what happened. He asks how often, I tell him this is the first time I've seen the physical stuff, but everything that went with it is an every practice thing. He says he's going to have to report what happened since it was borderline child abuse and Charlie will probably get kicked out of the INFC. I say I'm cool with that (although I am a little disappointed that I finally found a use for him; on the other hand, I don't have to worry about catching a case since he won't be screaming "GET THAT BALL" on the sidelines anymore).
Got a call from another board member (and past president), the same guy that asked me to help coach this team, about the incident. We talked about it for a bit, and he says Charlie will probably get suspended. Then he asks if I would be interested in coaching again next season (he coaches a 1st grade team, so I'm assuming he wants me to help them when they move up). I tell him that I'll graduate this spring and if things go right, I'll be corching high school footbaw this time next year. He says that's great and that he's heard a lot of really good things about me at the NOC. Said he knows pretty much all the high school coaches in the area and I can feel free to use him/NOC as a reference. A nice ending to an eventful day.
Charlie was suspended for the game on Saturday, but I think that was all. Him, Kim, and Turner have a school event, so I'll have to wait until Thursday to see if he's actually allowed to coach practice again. I don't care either way. Teddy showed up and played in the game. I told his mom to tell him that we miss him and we'll be thinking about him last Thursday, and his mom said that meant quite a bit to him. Him and his bully are also best friends now, so I'm happy about that.
We lost 7-0. The other team scored with 17 seconds left after we had back-to-back fumbles. The first was toward the end of the 3rd quarter while we were driving. The second was on the first play after we got the ball back. After the other team scored, the refs spotted the ball. I was in the huddle calling a play when the horn sounded and the officials called the game. I begin telling them that the clock shouldn't have started, in the last two minutes of the 4th quarter the game changes to high school clock rules. The said they were never told that. I got a little pissed and told them it doesn't matter if they were told, it's in the rule book. They said they were never given a rule book. By this point they had already given me the time back, but I was pretty pissed. The rule book is online and I made sure they knew it. Then I continued on about how they are getting paid to do this and that they should know the rules. I finally gave them a "Do your jerb!" or something similar before one shot back, "you do yer jerb!" and another hit me with the "that's enough, Coach!" I gave them a kind of a whatever-shoo hand gesture as I walked back to the huddle and finished out the game.
Didn't care about the winning the game at that point, but the refs had been bad for both sides all game and the excuses pissed me off. Don't care if you're reffing digital footbaw, if you're getting paid to do it, know the rules.
One of the other team's coaches left this post on the INFC forums...
#### -7 / #### - 0. Good game.......long drive. It's sad when the coaches of both teams are having to upcoach the refs. Good luck on the rest of your season ####!
Honest question... Why did you let that happen in front of you? Putting a stop to terrible/abusive parent behavior is one of the most important roles you have as a corch. It’s also really important to show the kids how to BTT resolve such conflicts without additional violence.
I know this is a learning experience year and I’m not trying to be hard on you, but that’s something you should make a goal to improve before heading to high school because it only gets worse. I know it feels awkward as hell to interrupt something between a parent and a kid and it is also extra hard because he’s a corch, but you’re responsible for these kids
That's a fair question. From what I understand, interfering in a situation like that can make it worse for the kid when they are at home/in private. I definitely thought about doing something then and I've thought about what I would do the next time the situation arises, but I'm honestly not sure what the appropriate action would be.
That's definitely not giving 50/50 advice here, keeping kids from actively being abused in front of you is pretty important, IMO. I'm not saying you needed to have a SHOWDOWN with him (in fact, I said you need to avoid violence at all costs, as that would just make it worse) but you should attempt to deescalate the situation and get that moron back under control. This lack of control is almost certainly why you have all these kids leaving/quitting as well. Parents see this shit and realize it's a circus and the kids aren't getting anything positive out of it. I'd pull my kid off this team for sure.
As far as suggestions for how to de-escalte. First, I think an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure in any of these types of trog conflicts. I think stepping in long before he got mad enough to haul his kid around by the facemask would have been the best course of action, but I wasn't there so I don't know how exactly it all started. From the story, it sound like he got more and more steamed and built up to this. Call a water break and pull him aside (where he won't be embarrassed) and tell him he needs to lock it up and be an adult.
Key elements for handling conflict with trogs
1. Don't escalate. It takes two trogs to tango and you don't want to tango.
2. Be completely calm/quiet in your approach. This is the most important thing, as long as you are calm eventually they will be too.
3. Interrupt them with an assignment or task to complete. When someone is behaving irrationally/emotionally, you can often break them out of it by asking them to complete some simple task (hey corch, can you call a water break? He corch, lets do some ___ drill). This is due to the fact that it is difficult to be emotional and rational at the same time.
4. Allow the trog to save face so that they aren't embarrassed. Embarrassing a trog is the best way to escalate/trap the trog (what I love doing on Utopia!) but it is not going to help you de-escalate a conflict, so avoid publicly embarrassing them... give them an easy way out.
5. Once you've calmed the situation down in the moment, follow up after practice and let them know it isn't acceptable behavior and you won't corch with someone who behaves that way.
6. If this is a continual problem, then I'd honestly just quit before I'd continue coaching with someone who behaves like that.
I was really fortunate to corch with two awesome head corches and at our first meeting we came up with ways to handle our disagreements or problems with each other (because shit always comes up during the season) without making it a big public thing in front of the kids. The old "Water Break" is a great way to have a mid practice discussion corch-to-corch if you see something that needs to be stopped.
I only had to intervene with other corches on two occasions. One was with another assistant corch on my team who was running some stupid murder ball game that was going to get all the kids concussions. I called a water break and helped him modify the drill to something that was similarly fun but not insane. The second was when I saw the 8th grade corch pulling kids around by the facemask in frustration when I was corching the 7th graders. I called a water break for our kids and just walked over nonchalantly to talk to him and said I'd noticed it, so all the parents watching from their cars certainly would as well. He was definitely embarrassed to be called out and he started to trog at me, but I just stayed calm and it completely defused him. I then followed up with my head corch (since I wasn't a teacher and they both were) and we all had a heated discussion after practice, which was a mistake on my part. Following up was right, but in retrospect I should have just continued to remain calm and not cycle with him. At least this argument was in private. I stopped corching because the guy I corched with got promoted to vice principal and stopped corching, so the trog king and his previous assistant became the new head corches (both teachers) and I didn't want to corch with either of them.
We finished off the season not winning another game. We played most games with 6-7 kids and even forfeited a game because I didn't think we would have more than five. Had one step-parent try to fight me after his step-son punched a teammate in the stomach (making him cry and sit out a few plays) during a game. It was sometime during the third quarter and I made the offending kid sit the rest of the game (we played the rest of the game with 6 kids and a few plays with 5). The step-dad was pissed because I didn't make the other kid sit for slapping him in the back of the head (while he was wearing a helmet - and I didn't see it), which is what caused the gut punch. After the game he was yelling and wanting to talk about the situation, I told him I would as long as there was a moderator, he got wolfmad about me wanting a moderator, so I just walked off. All in all, it was a pretty successful season. The president of the league reached out at the end of the season and left me a very kind message and also served as a reference when I applied for my current jerb. We won 2 games, and I'm pretty sure a kid or two would have died had I not corched. Not trying to toot my own horn, but.....toot toot.
After that, I got a teaching/coaching job. I teach 8th grade U.S. History and coach football, basketball, and track at a middle school that feeds into the 4th largest high school in Oklahoma (they'll probably be 2nd within the next 5 years). I also scouted for the high school. For football, I was the OC and secondary coach. I coached QBs and RBs on offense (we only had 3 coaches). We only had 27 players on the team and finished with 26 after one moved away (our starting MLB) during the middle of the season. We lost every game. Most games we had between 18-22 kids due to ineligible players, most of which had never played football before. We did manage to score two touchdowns on the season, though, and went 2-2 on XPs. One of the other middle schools was really good, the other was decent. Our high school did much better. After not making the playoffs the last two seasons, they hired a new head coach and finished second in their district (second to Owasso who won the 'ship). They hosted a first round playoff game, losing to eventual state runner-up Jenks. They also became the first west-side team to win @Tulsa Union (a team I scouted). The coach won district coach of the year. I went 2-1 against teams I scouted, with the loss coming to Jenks, who I only got to watch for one game (I scouted the other two teams for three games). Another scout and I ran the weigh room on Sundays while the varsity coaches were game-planning. I would sit in the game-planning meetings before and after my weight room duties.
Basketball season wasn't much better. We held tryouts, but everyone made the team because only 14 kids showed up (again, many had never played before). We did manage to win one game in a tournament and nearly won another, but every other game we lost by 25+. We lost one game 92-17 because the douche coach pressed the entire game and played his starters the entire 2nd and 4th quarter (he platoon subbed at the end of quarters and didn't start his "starters").
Track would have went about the same a football and basketball, but we only had one week of practice before everything was cancelled. The main problem for the 8th grade was that since we were a brand new school, 8th graders had the option to stay at the school they attended last year (7th graders had to go to whichever school they were supposed to go to because middle school is only 7-8th grade here, intermediate school is 5-6th). Next year we should be a lot more competitive, although 7th grade didn't win a game in football or basketball, but they do have talent.
In February, I was interviewed for a high school coaching position (either DL or DBs). The coaching staff loved my scouting reports, the time I was putting in, and my principal was saying good things about my teaching. They only interviewed one other guy, a DC at a 6A-2 school (we are 6A-1, the highest classification in OK). Lack of experience was the biggest knock against me as I had coached 8th grade for one season and 2nd grade for one season, so I knew I probably wasn't getting the job this year. It was nice to be considered, especially against a guy who turned down a 5A head coaching job to come be an assistant DBs coach.
About a month ago, the assistant LBs coach decided he was going to go back to the school he coached at before he came here. He was only here for one season - last season was the first year for this staff and they only kept 2 guys from the previous staff. One decided to stop coaching, which is how the DBs position came open, the other was moved to ST Coordinator only (he was DL and STC last season), which is how the DL job came open. The former 6A-2 DC took the DBs position and they offered me the LBs position, which I accepted. The main issue (even from the beginning) with me coming to the high school was finding me a teaching spot at the high school. It's pretty much impossible to teach at a middle school and coach at the high school since high schools have an athletic hour (7th hour) and our middle schools don't, so the schedules just didn't line up. When the LBs coach left, a history spot came open and it went to me. So now I'll be teaching Oklahoma History (I originally wanted to teach this before I took the 8th grade U.S. History jerb) and coaching LBs for the varsity team. I will essentially be a cone bitch for the first year or so, but I'm around a great staff that I can learn from and they have already proven they are willing to promote from within, so I'm pretty excited.
We also have a chance to be pretty good, if not this year, then definitely the year after. We have a sophomore TE (he will be a junior next season) who is ranked the #4 TE in the country and already has offers from Michigan, Penn State, Oregon, and a lot of other Power 5 schools. We also have a freshman DB who just picked up offers from Michigan, OK State, OU and a few other schools. He will probably be the number one prospect in the state for football and basketball and he's absolutely blowing up. We have a couple more kids that have a chance to be D1, but we're very young. Should be a fun season. I'll keep you'll updated.