For the past four years, my son has been a member of the local swim team. That’s four years of summer, winter, and spring swimming seasons. That’s four $750 checks written for the pleasure of being a member of the team. That’s four years in which the coaches had a chance to learn that he pronounces his name “Bren-don” not “Bren-din.” However, this year Brendan decided not to be part of the swim team.
You might think the coaches would reach out to us to ask why, or even to stop him in the hallways at school one day and ask him what he’s up to, but you’d be mistaken. We did not discuss our reasons with anyone, nor did we express any displeasure with the program in a way that the coaches should simply know why B is done with swimming. He simply did not come back for the summer and now fall seasons.
Strangely, we continue to receive information from the coaches and parent committee about fundraising, deadlines for meet entries, meetings, and the team photo. If you checked our in-box, you would think he was as active as he’d ever been. We even received bills for both the summer and fall seasons, with another invoice arriving yesterday for the winter season. Apparently, no one’s noticed that my son is no longer part of the team.
Now before you say it was his obligation to go to the coaches and speak with them, you need to understand that is not the way this team works. There is a good amount of turnover (because of how the program is run), and some departees are aggressively pursued and begged to come back while others are not. My husband did advise one of the assistant coaches back in the summer that B would not be back, and we indicated on both bills we’ve received that B is no longer part of the team. But, somebody isn’t listening.
To us, this simply reinforces one of the biggest reason’s B decided to stop being part of the team: he felt invisible. As indicated above, coaches did not learn his name, and nobody is inquiring why B isn’t part of the team anymore. I know it takes a lot to manage a team, but B’s coaches could’ve handled things differently. Had they asked why he wasn’t part of the team anymore, he would’ve felt valued and might have surprised them with his answer.