Election Days

A classic bait-and-switch subject line! You might think I’m about to drop some thoughts on the races for the Democratic and Republican nominations for president, as we are on the eve of the Indiana primary. You would be thinking wrong, though.

My interest in and passion for politics has been beaten up, brutalized, and nearly destroyed over the last eight years. Most of that is a result of the toxic political climate we live in, an era where it isn’t enough to disagree with someone and work to prevent their policies from being implemented. In fact, there has been very little debate based on pure policy in the Obama era. Rather, it’s an era where public demonization is standard. One where you don’t say, “This is bad policy, let’s try something different.” Instead you say, “Obama hates America. His policies are destroying America. And anyone that supports him hates America.” Etc.

Which means those folks have won, at least where I am concerned. I won’t get into political debates, I barely follow the news anymore, and I’ve disengaged almost completely. Which is the goal of the people who do nothing other than tear down rather than offer alternatives. They want people to either vote out of fear, or to remove themselves from the process. I hate that I’ve let them win, but I also find it easier to let them beat me out of the process.

Nope, this post isn’t about that at all. It’s about how I just won the first elected position of my life.

I am the new head of the kickball program at St. P’s.

This was not an office I sought, at least initially. I was kind of interested in joining the athletic commission, which also requires being voted-in. But a few of our kickball coaches approached me about filling the vacant coordinator role last week. I asked around, got a feel for the job, and decided, “What the hell?” I have two girls playing kickball already. And L will be playing the minute she’s eligible. I have no interest in coaching 13–20 screaming girls. The best way to support the program, beyond keeping score, is to take on the administrative role that guides it.

I heard there was another parent interested in the role, someone I know pretty well, who has coached before, and is almost universally beloved at St. P’s. If she wanted the job, I’d vote for her over me. But I also heard she had just thrown her name in because she was afraid no one else would. I contacted her last week and she confirmed she really didn’t want the job. She’d be happy to help me in any way, but she was more focused on her job and getting her two extremely athletic girls to all their games and practices.

I had just cooly eliminated my only competition for the job. The Clintons would be proud of me!

Anyway, last night was the meeting where new officers and coordinators were voted in. I got some ribbing from a couple dads I’m friendly with who coordinate other sports that I had “snuffed out” my competition. When kickball came up, I was introduced and the director said I was the only candidate, so the job was mine.

By acclamation, bitches!

The out-going coordinator handed me a couple tubs of extra jerseys that need to be recycled/donated, a couple bags of balls, and a promise to send me all the documents she has to help me do the job. She is hyper-organized, which will be good for me as she shares her records. She was also phenomenal at the job, which makes it tough to maintain her standard. I kind of have no idea what I’m getting into.

I know I have to send a lot of emails about getting girls registered, recruiting coaches, communicating with the CYO office for scheduling, etc. And I’ve always excelled at sending emails, so that won’t be a problem.

It’s also my job to get uniforms collected and stored in the next week or so as the spring season wraps up. Then get them distributed in the fall. I have to help start a whole new set of teams, as there will be a fall, third-grade league for the first time ever this fall. And I get to be the arbiter of conflicts. I’ve been assured that there have only been a couple complaints from parents in recent years. But if/when they surface, I get to deal with them. Someone remind me to check my sarcasm before I respond to the parent complaining about their daughter getting on the C team instead of the A team, when everyone who saw the tryouts knows this kid is lucky there’s not a D team.

It also has the chance to be a really cool experience. Like it or not, sports are often the face of a school, even at the grade/middle school level. When I’ve kept score, parents from other schools have told me how they never have problems when they play St. P’s teams, or how they enjoy coming to St. P’s because they always feel welcome. Beyond making sure the girls have a great experience, I can’t think of a more important goal than continuing an atmosphere where our teams, coaches, and parents compete hard but with respect and kindness and in a manner where other schools enjoy playing our teams. Even when we’re kicking their asses!

Make no mistake about it, we’re going to win. A couple coaches are already in my ear about ramping up the tryout process and I’m totally down with that.

To wrap this up, I’d like to remind you of one of the funnier stories from the early days when S and I were dating. One night I asked her if she played sports growing up. She said yes, she played kickball. I laughed in her face. She just about punched me as she said, “KICKBALL IS A REAL SPORT!” I checked with my female friends who went to Catholic schools in Kansas City if they played kickball growing up. “Sure, at recess,” was always the response. As I have learned, organized kickball is a very Indianapolis, Catholic school thing.

Almost 16 years later I have two girls playing, and another who is 18 months away from her first game. I keep the book and get kind of fired up during games. And now I’m running the damn program.

What a world. What a time to be alive.

2 Comments

  1. Stace

    I’m going to need the Kickball Complaint Hotline, please.

  2. ddbrann

    Um, no, that’s exactly what we do not need. In fact I’m going to ban all complaints. “It’s grade-school kickball. Knock it off,” is going to be my standard response to parental complaints.

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