Anonymous

It may sound kind of unusual, but after visiting your site, I decided to forgive my high school basketball coach…..and I am now an adult.

How to begin. Well, this guy was into power. I remember so clearly one time in practice, he came up to me and said, “Do you know why I did not play you very much in the last game?” I looked at him with a kind of disbelief because, it was true, he benched me without warning. So, I said (politely, actually), “…..no.” He then went on, “You are not aggressive enough. I want to see you get in there and get some fouls on defense. Get aggressive.” He had never mentioned that to me before—being aggressive on defense. OK, I can do that.

Next game, he started me. I fouled like he asked. I fouled so much that I fouled out of the game before the first half was over. I was a fouling machine! And I scored in double figures to top off what I thought was my masterful fouling performance. So far so good. I was really looking forward to the next game, and when it started, I was not in the starting lineup. He hardly put me in the game! What’s up with this, I thought. The next day, the coach comes up to me in practice and asks, “Do you know why I did not play you last game?” I was kind of shocked and answered,”……..no.” He looked at me and said, “You foul too much,” and he just walked away.

As a teenager to get this kind of yo-yo treatment really hurt. I now see that the coach had a kind of dead-end job. He was a driver’s education instructor at the school, pretty low level stuff from an academic perspective. He was frustrated and he took it out on some of us kids. As I started to forgive him, I saw his pain, the pain of the dead-end job, of not really making it in his own world of teaching. Yeah, he hurt me, but it was because he was so hurt himself.

It’s over now and I can move on. I am surprised that something like this can stay with a person and leave doubts about one’s own abilities, not just as a ballplayer, but as a person. When I forgave, I looked the injustice in the eye, owned it as unfair, owned my pain, forgave, and stood up a little taller.