Tuesday, May 4

Saying No and Feeling Bad

My son had his first t-ball practice tonight. Between basketball, soccer and t-ball, there is a strong need for coaches. I volunteered to coach basketball and wanted no part in soccer or t-ball. I picked the ambulance corps as my main way to give back to my community, and right now I put enough hours into this effort that I am sure I am doing my share. I had convinced myself that I could be guilt free in not helping out with t-ball and soccer.

For basketball and soccer people who signed up were contacted ahead of time and told who was coaching their child’s team, when and where activities would be held, what equipment was mandatory and what was optional, etc. For t-ball, we were told to be somewhere on Tuesday at 1800. Nothing about clothing, equipment or who the coaches were (never mind which team our son would be on). When we showed up, the organizer asked for some volunteers to coach the four t-ball teams. Not to help coach. To coach. This guy was asking people, with no forewarning, to step up on the spot and volunteer their time for two nights a week over the next several weeks. In fact, I heard later that people who expressed interest in coaching weeks ago were told he wasn’t ready to deal with coaches yet and they’d work it out the first day. This placed me in an awkward situation. There I was, an able bodied human (and, based on the number of eye-movements made my way, it made a difference that I was male). After the first three coaches volunteered there was a LONG wait. There were several mothers and myself. They didn’t know I was waiting for my wife, who was headed for a board meeting of the nursery school (more volunteering), to drop off our two-year old so I could care for her and then take both kids home. Or that I have EMT class on Thursday and couldn’t coach then. Or that once the class is over I’ll be giving away HOURS of my time each week so that if they call 911 someone will be there. All they know is that a 6’2” 30 something male, who though he could lose some weight seems semi-athletic, is standing there not stepping up to the plate. What an awful feeling. However, I was proud. I did NOT volunteer for this. It is someone else’s turn. And if I AM going to volunteer for something, it isn’t going to be something so poorly organized that they don’t think to ask for coaches until 60 seconds before the season starts.

That all said, I wish I could say I didn’t feel guilty.