As educators, we deal with this on a daily, hourly, and sometimes minute by minute basis.  However, I’m a coach too.  Apparently I cannot get enough of frustration, so I have two places on my wall where I bang my head, one for my classroom students, and one for my teams.

I have the task of coaching 7th and 8th grade girls.  Now, this started way back (17 years ago my wife tells me) in Alaska, when I was an assistant to my wife coaching varsity girls basketball.  I’d only coached football previous to this experience, but I soon learned that I loved the game of basketball, and for the most part, coaching girls was really no big deal.  However, I also learned that frustration of coaching as well.  That first team was a team without a leader, their previous leader had tranfered, taking her 15 points per game with her.  So, two Iowans transplanted 4,000+ miles to the Arctic tundra tried some Mid-West basketball on Alaskans. Ouch! We had some growing pains, but at the end of the season, missed a trip to the State Basketball Tournament on a last second tip in.  That got me hook line and sinker.

I love to tell basketball stories in class, because that court, those frustrations are just in another classroom.  On that floor, I teach fundamentals, just like in a classroom.  I teach how to get along, just like in a classroom, and my work is evaluated, just like in a classroom.  If I could, I’d coach year round, boy or girls.  I’ve found that I really enjoy coaching the youth basketball, but boy do the frustrations come fast and furious there! 🙂  However, watching them succeed, making a basket, doing something grand on the floor, it brings you back for more, just like teaching.

This season will probably be my last coaching jr. high ball.  I teach in a very small district, and there have been scheduling issues getting me to practices, and next year, those issues become harder to work around because my classroom will only be one section.  I’m savoring the good, the bad, and the ugly because I know I will miss it tremendously come late October next year.  I’m savoring this season as well because my oldest daughter is on the 8th grade team. I’ve coached her now for four years, and next week will be her last game with me.  All the frustrations, the highs and lows will come out that last game, and win or lose, it will be an emotional one for me.

This has gotten long and hard to follow because it’s late and I’m tired, but my point of all this is, coaching or teaching, there are frustrations.  We do take things way too close to our hearts, and it hurts when it goes wrong.  It’s ok.  It’s ok to feel frustrated, betrayed, or hurt by your students, it shows you care.  Tonight, I walked out of the gym and just felt like the world was going to end.  But after a piece of pizza, a Diet Coke, and a little NCIS, life was good again. Tomorrow, as I talk with my teams, I’ll talk about how we can fix little things in preparations for our last games next week.

It’s ok to feel frustrated. I feel your pain, but remember, tomorrow is a new day, and those students, my players, they will expect us to show up.  I will, and so will you. 🙂