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Interesting night with the 1st/2nd grade Rookie Tackle team


gumby_in_co
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I'll try to keep this as brief as I can.  Lots of moving parts.

Setup: Our league has a "rookie tackle" division for 1st/2nd graders. They took the Flex rules and married them with the USAF rookie tackle rules and made a ridiculous blend of the worst of both. I'm coaching under one of my 5th grade AC's. He started a team so his youngest son could play. 8 man football and we have 11 (10 of whom actually play. Don't ask). He was given his roster by the association. Mix of new kids and returning kids from a team that folded. We coach who we have. This is the 3rd team I've coached at this age group and this particular team is by far the least mature, "ready for organized sports" group I've ever seen. But . . . we coach the guys we have to the best of our abilities.

Our opponent is stacked to the gills with size, speed and football players. It's a returning team that has been carefully selected and culled to be dominant. One of his cast offs is on our roster and he's one of our better players. It used to be illegal to cut or cull, but I just checked the rules and that particular rule has been removed. HC and AC are "in your face" competitive jerks. I don't have a problem with that. I just think it's funny how much stake they put into a rookie league with no scores kept, no standings, no playoffs and so many "special rules" that my 20 seasons' worth and my HC's 10 seasons' worth of experience matters in the least. In the first week of "games" I had to serve as a ref. This team's coaches did not like the narrow field that I (the ref) chose to play on. They disliked it so much, that the AC told me, "Yeah, when you play us, it will be on a wide field and it's going to be f*cking ugly!!!", then acted like his HC had to hold him back from physically attacking me. Since all rookie games are on the same field at roughly the same time, I've seen them in action. I don't recall any of their RBs getting tackled . . . ever. It seems like they score a TD every time they snap the ball. It's football players vs toddlers.

We played them last night. We set up on the far side of the field and were about to start warming up. Opposing AC (jerk) came to our sideline with 3 of his players and started putting their pads on. Our HC told him "we're taking this sideline". Coach Jerk looked really offended by this, then shrugged and said, "Whatever dude. It's not going to change anything."  One of our moms got very vocal and demanded that we (coaches) challenge the other team's roster.  "No way that kid is in 2nd grade!" etc. etc. I told her that I'm confident they are all 2nd graders and that the "system" is very hard to cheat. She said, "Well if my kid gets hurt, the League is going to hear about it." I said, "Then maybe you should just take your son and leave. This is football and I assume you knew what this meant when you registered and paid." Meanwhile, all of our players were paying attention to her so that her belief that we are playing against 4th graders became their belief.

We didn't make a single tackle and I think we had 3 runs of a yard or two. Everything else was dead in the background. One of our AC's got heated and started throwing a tantrum about the other team cheating. He kept taking out his phone with the rookie rules and demanded the ref start enforcing the rules. One of them (rushing the A gap) he was wrong about. Another (rushing a LB on a pass play) he was right about and the ref gave us a 10 yard penalty. Yay us.  This is the same AC who threw a tantrum in our 2nd practice because I told his son to leave the practice field. Anyway, by the end of the game, he was out of control, foaming at the mouth and shouting. I told our HC "He's got to go". HC agreed. He told us that we (HC and I) let down the team by not taking a stand and leaving the field when the ref refused to enforce the rules. IMHO, it wasn't nearly that bad and the AC simply whipped himself into a frenzy. No one got hurt and we didn't get MOJO'd, which I consider a major victory.

Before we left, several parents said they wouldn't be back if "THAT" team would be back year after year. A parent from the chain crew on the next game (different team) overheard that and said, "Half of our team won't be back either if 'THAT' team is allowed to play". Me? My ego can handle getting my ass handed to me year after year by a better team. Are they coached better? Meh. Do they work hard? I'm sure they do and they probably work harder than our team. 99.9% of their success is due to carefully selected raw materials. Another case of a select team in a league where teams are supposed to be selected at random. Before COVID, this was not really enforced very well. Since COVID . . . forget it. The league suspended their boundary, recruiting and transfer rules, so now it's "Mad Max Fury Road" out there.

The important thing to note is that the product absolutely sucks. This is the youngest age group where we're supposed to be teaching them a love of the game. For the most part, I feel we did that. However, what the league seems to be missing is that it's just as important to teach the parents a love of the game. They have a good point. Their sons are not great athletes, but want to play football. They must do so against teams full of great athletes and comically lopsided scores will be the norm. I don't have a good argument against a parent who wants to walk away after what just happened.

When in doot . . . glass and oot.


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CoachDP
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Posted by: @gumby_in_co

Our league has a "rookie tackle" division for 1st/2nd graders. They took the Flex rules and married them with the USAF rookie tackle rules and made a ridiculous blend of the worst of both.

--Sounds great already...

HC and AC are "in your face" competitive jerks.

--Pretty common in the sport we coach.

This team's coaches did not like the narrow field that I (the ref) chose to play on.

--I gotta say that I hate it when refs decide to invent their own rules.

They disliked it so much, that the AC told me, "Yeah, when you play us, it will be on a wide field and it's going to be f*cking ugly!!!", then acted like his HC had to hold him back from physically attacking me.

--Can something be hilarious, sad and stupid at the same time?  But again, that's common in the sport we coach.

"No way that kid is in 2nd grade!" etc. etc. I told her that I'm confident they are all 2nd graders and that the "system" is very hard to cheat. She said, "Well if my kid gets hurt, the League is going to hear about it." I said, "Then maybe you should just take your son and leave. 

--Good reply.  Of the countless times I've heard parents and coaches invent scenarios ("No way that kid is X years-old!"), the kid is in fact the correct age 99.9% of the time.  Does cheating in this manner occur?  Of course.  It happened to us in the 2015 regionals.  But it's usually parents and coaches inventing their own fiction.

We didn't make a single tackle and I think we had 3 runs of a yard or two. Everything else was dead in the background. One of our AC's got heated and started throwing a tantrum about the other team cheating. He kept taking out his phone with the rookie rules and demanded the ref start enforcing the rules. One of them (rushing the A gap) he was wrong about. Another (rushing a LB on a pass play) he was right about and the ref gave us a 10 yard penalty. Yay us.  This is the same AC who threw a tantrum in our 2nd practice because I told his son to leave the practice field. Anyway, by the end of the game, he was out of control, foaming at the mouth and shouting. I told our HC "He's got to go". HC agreed. He told us that we (HC and I) let down the team by not taking a stand and leaving the field when the ref refused to enforce the rules. IMHO, it wasn't nearly that bad and the AC simply whipped himself into a frenzy. No one got hurt and we didn't get MOJO'd, which I consider a major victory.

--Wow, I dunno how you stand this...

The league suspended their boundary, recruiting and transfer rules, so now it's "Mad Max Fury Road" out there.

--Sounds like it's open season for everyone.  There's no cheating.  There's just one team that recruits legally outside their boundaries and other teams that just accept whoever shows up.  It's pretty common that the parents who sit on the sofa most of the year do the most complaining.

The important thing to note is that the product absolutely sucks. This is the youngest age group where we're supposed to be teaching them a love of the game.

--How do you know they aren't?  One thing I'm sure of: if they're beating the pants off of everyone else, the one group of boys who are loving this are the ones doing the butt-kicking.

For the most part, I feel we did that. However, what the league seems to be missing is that it's just as important to teach the parents a love of the game. They have a good point. Their sons are not great athletes, but want to play football. They must do so against teams full of great athletes and comically lopsided scores will be the norm. I don't have a good argument against a parent who wants to walk away after what just happened.

--My argument would be to start recruiting.  If the bad guys can do it, then why not you?

--Dave

 

This post was modified 4 days ago 2 times by CoachDP

"The Greater the Teacher, the More Powerful the Player."

The Mission Statement: "I want to show any young man that he is far tougher than he thinks, that he can accomplish more than what he dreamed and that his work ethic will take him wherever he wants to go."

#BattleReady newhope


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gumby_in_co
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Posted by: @coachdp
Posted by: @gumby_in_co

--Sounds great already...

Out of the literally hundreds of conversations we've had about "special rules", this rookie league is on the outer rim of the universe.

HC and AC are "in your face" competitive jerks.

--Pretty common in the sport we coach.

I'm honestly okay with that. I've coached 11-0 championship teams and I've coached 0-8 teams. That lets me know exactly how important I am to the W/L ledger, which is to say, not a lot. I do have tremendous influence on my players' overall experience. This perspective lets me look at these guys and think, "You're not as good as you think you are, Coach, but go ahead and be a jerk. It's all part of the fun."

--I gotta say that I hate it when refs decide to invent their own rules.

A little context. We showed up to the "game" and the refs didn't. My buddy set up the field according to what he thought was right. I saw that a narrow field made a better game for 1st/2nd graders. Opposing coach loved it as well, so we stuck with it. The coach who melted down played after us and I told him that he was free to go with a 50 yard wide field if that's what he wanted. He and his AC did not like that. Frankly, it was none of their farging business. No ref (except me), no score, no standings and opponent was all in. What's the problem?

--Can something be hilarious, sad and stupid at the same time?  But again, that's common in the sport we coach.

I made a commitment to myself years ago that I will NEVER be part of a fight at a youth sports event. Never. That would be a tragic end to my coaching career. 

We didn't make a single tackle and I think we had 3 runs of a yard or two. Everything else was dead in the background. One of our AC's got heated and started throwing a tantrum about the other team cheating. He kept taking out his phone with the rookie rules and demanded the ref start enforcing the rules. One of them (rushing the A gap) he was wrong about. Another (rushing a LB on a pass play) he was right about and the ref gave us a 10 yard penalty. Yay us.  This is the same AC who threw a tantrum in our 2nd practice because I told his son to leave the practice field. Anyway, by the end of the game, he was out of control, foaming at the mouth and shouting. I told our HC "He's got to go". HC agreed. He told us that we (HC and I) let down the team by not taking a stand and leaving the field when the ref refused to enforce the rules. IMHO, it wasn't nearly that bad and the AC simply whipped himself into a frenzy. No one got hurt and we didn't get MOJO'd, which I consider a major victory.

--Wow, I dunno how you stand this...

Told our HC that I prefer to never coach with this guy again. HC assures me the guy is gone. He has triplets on the team and they are our best players, so it will sting, but its better than the alternative.

The league suspended their boundary, recruiting and transfer rules, so now it's "Mad Max Fury Road" out there.

--Sounds like it's open season for everyone.  There's no cheating.  There's just one team that recruits legally outside their boundaries and other times that just accept whoever show's up.  It's pretty common that the parents who sit on the sofa most of the year do the most complaining.

I will coach the kids that they give me. That's my deal and I'm okay with everything that comes along with that decision. I do my best to get my parents to be okay with it as well. Doing pretty good so far. The little guys parents? Not so much. And it's not about, "I'm taking my kid to a winning team". They know their kid doesn't belong on those teams. They are struggling that there is no place for the slow, little guy who loves football and tries hard. That kid isn't nearly affected by a lopsided loss as his parents are. Who writes the checks and drives to practice?

The important thing to note is that the product absolutely sucks. This is the youngest age group where we're supposed to be teaching them a love of the game.

--How do you know they aren't?  One thing I'm sure of: if they're beating the pants off of everyone else, the one group of boys who are loving this are the ones doing the butt-kicking.

As I said, above, I'm pretty sure we did a good job of teaching the kids a love of the game, but the parents are the ones writing checks. The ones beating the pants off everyone else are going to run out of opponents to beat the pants off.

For the most part, I feel we did that. However, what the league seems to be missing is that it's just as important to teach the parents a love of the game. They have a good point. Their sons are not great athletes, but want to play football. They must do so against teams full of great athletes and comically lopsided scores will be the norm. I don't have a good argument against a parent who wants to walk away after what just happened.

--My argument would be to start recruiting.  If the bad guys can do it, then why not you?

Well, we have to recruit. And don't get me wrong. I recruit to the extent that I can. What I won't do is cull or fudge the MPP rules. For example, our 5th graders couldn't recruit this year. We had 20 returning and the org told us we'd be getting 4 in the blind/random draft (we got 6). We lucked out and got a few ballers.  We have to recruit for the rookie team. They go to 11 man next year and we had 11 on the roster. I'm guessing the triplets won't return once dad finds out he's out. Found out that he held a "private" practice last week with his boys and a select few of the others. My guess is that he's going to try to start his own "invite only" team. Our club won't give him a team (long story), but he'll probably just go to another club that will take any idiot with a whistle. I don't have access to 3rd graders, but HC does. He'll have to recruit his tail off and probably get some loyal parents to do the same, but I suspect he'll have to compete for those loyal parents with the triplets' dad.

 

 

When in doot . . . glass and oot.


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terrypjohnson
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Posted by: @gumby_in_co

HC and AC are "in your face" competitive jerks. I don't have a problem with that.

Are these the two that complained about the width of the field in the game you had to ref because no one showed up?

Fight 'em until Hell freezes over, then fight 'em on the ice -- Dutch Meyer


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terrypjohnson
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Posted by: @gumby_in_co

HC and AC are "in your face" competitive jerks. I don't have a problem with that.

Are these the two that complained about the width of the field in the game you had to ref because no one showed up?

Fight 'em until Hell freezes over, then fight 'em on the ice -- Dutch Meyer


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gumby_in_co
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Posted by: @terrypjohnson
Posted by: @gumby_in_co

HC and AC are "in your face" competitive jerks. I don't have a problem with that.

Are these the two that complained about the width of the field in the game you had to ref because no one showed up?

The very same

When in doot . . . glass and oot.


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