Oh sure, it’s funny when Will Ferrell plays a crazed kids soccer coach in the movie Kicking and Screaming—oh wait, bad example.
Michael Kinahan has the right chops for a coach, but he was just in the wrong level of competitive soccer. He wasn’t in Major League Soccer, he was a couple of rungs down—coaching seven year olds.
The Scituate, Mass., resident had to resign from coaching girls minor soccer after some parents of his players fell into a rage over an e-mail he sent out to his team, which he nicknamed Green Death.
His 1,049-word missive said he wants his players to, “chase every ball and dig in corners like a Michael Vick pit bull … be put on a diet of fish, undercooked red meat and lots of veggies. No junk food. Protein shakes are encouraged … (And) kick ass and take names on the field, off the field and throughout their lives.”
To a seven-year-old, a 1,049-word e-mail might as well be Tolstoy’s War and Peace—who’s reading that with complete understanding from start to finish at that age? Do they even know who Michael Vick is?
The good thing is that even within the most controversial parts of his combative rant he encourages proper nutrition.
Anyhoo … the guy is a jerk, an idiot and competitive to the point of being abrasive, but that’s just what kids sports need right now.
As a reporter who often covers kids’ events, I’m often dealing with parents and coaches who avoid discussing the competitive nature sports. I’ve even been asked not to print a score because, “It’s all about having fun.”
I completely agree; having fun is the goal, but it’s not a score. Ignoring who won is like covering a house fire and only writing about how sad the people are while ignoring the cause of the fire and the damages.
As Kinahan writes: “America’s youth is becoming fat, lazy and non-competitive because competition is viewed as ‘bad’ … I believe winning is fun and losing is for losers.”
Team sports are great for teaching social skills and teamwork, but more importantly, sports teach life lessons, such as dealing with disappointment.
In today’s job market, that’s a good lesson for everyone!
Kinahan is clearly a buffoon who wrote inappropriate comments. But he did write at the bottom of his first paragraph: “According to my wife, my e-mails get too wordy, so for those of you read too slowly, are easily offended or are too busy, you can stop here.”
Easily offended people never know when to take a hint. (I’m sorry if I offended those who are easily offended.)
His punishment should have been writing a follow-up e-mail explaining that he was joking, outlining the sections where he might have gone too far and apologizing for each. He shouldn’t have had to resign over it!
What message is that sending to the players? Isn’t this telling them that expressing unpopular opinions is irresponsible and should be avoided?
They’ll grow to be fearful of saying the emperor has no clothes.
Not to mention, the guy was kidding! And at moments he was funny!
He writes, “But it is imperative that we all fight the good fight, get involved now and resist the urge to become sweat-xedo-wearing yuppies who sit on the sidelines in their LL Bean chairs sipping mocha-latte-half-caf-chinos while discussing reality TV and home decorating.”
That probably pissed off parents more than anything because, after all, the process of choosing the next American Idol is underway.
And, as one league official pointed out, the only parents to complain were the ones not familiar with the coach’s questionable sense of humour.
Despite all the ink the story has received, no one is pointing out the two greatest life lessons being inadvertently shared through this incident.
Lesson One: Choose your humour wisely.
If stretching the boundaries of political correctness, know your audience and don’t put it in print.
You don’t go telling Newfie jokes in Newfoundland, because people would obviously be offended and the jokes’ delivery would be ruined by having to explain each punch line.
Lesson Two: Men can be overly competitive brutes with little sense of where to draw the line. The sooner little girls learn this, the sooner they can understand why their parents fight every time their anniversary falls on the same night as an important playoff game.
Contact Tom Patrick at