difficult child's crash course in darker side of being a pro athlete seems to continue

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by SuZir, Oct 14, 2013.

  1. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    This time not his own doing and he is an almost total bystander to whole thing, but it is again something very stressful he needs to cope with and learn to deal with. Till now difficult child has been lucky to play for very professional and well managed organisations. His current team is his first experience of the team, that is someone's toy so to say. Basically it is a general rule that teams owned by many people tend to be less turbulent than teams owned by one person. When it is about one person's whims, it tends to make it more turbulent all the way down to the bottom of the whole organisation. It has been evident from the get-go that this team is not as professionally handled than to what difficult child has been used to, and we did know that before he even signed, but problems he has encountered himself have been tolerable. Some late/missing/partly paid salaries, little bit problems with the flat and car, having difficulty to access PT when he needed, having difficulty to get broken equipment replaced by same calibre product in timely manner, food offered to them during away trips not being up to standards, things like that. difficult child's agent's other client was happy with the team last season, but some things seem to have changed after that and it has been evident that there are some issues. And issues tend to produce extra tension and that is what seems to be happening, at least partly.

    Now relationship between the coaches and the team has hit a crisis. difficult child, being an outsider, isn't even sure what is really going on, but difficult child's older, more influential team mates are in mutiny and others are following suit. They are not happy with coach's treatment of players or his tactics. Sport teams are of course different work environments than your average office and workers safety laws etc. don't work quite the same. A pro athlete can expect to be yelled at, have to listen personal barbs to certain degree, can expect to be physically punished in some ways etc. But there are limits. Of course limits change from culture to another and from sport to another and difficult child well knew he would change from much more relaxed and player friendly environment to more traditional and authoritative environment, when he left to the country there he currently is. So he is not sure, where those lines in the sand are in this organisation. And he himself has not been treated badly (then again, difficult child has been playing well, that tends to help) but he has seen some treatment of other players that appals him. And one of the badly treated ones is difficult child's flatmate and almost only friend in the team. So he is angry for him.

    For the whole difficult child doesn't really know what is going on. For example yesterday he spent three hours getting bored and not understanding a word in crisis meeting with the team and in the end only got a five minute briefing about what was talked about. So he certainly is not having the whole picture about what is going on. But apparently owner and GM side with the coaches, but almost whole team sides with the older players in their mutiny. In the end these types of things tend to end up to the same conclusion: You can't fire the whole team, you have to fire the coach. But because the team is forcing the management's hand, they tend to pay for it in way or another. Things like this tend to be always ugly. And of course cr** tends to roll downhill. So difficult child and his flatmate are in quite challenging position in this.

    Only solid advice one can give to difficult child in this, and which he has already heard from many, is to keep out of it, keep his head down, play well and pretend totally oblivious out of the field. And remember that while it is almost sure that the head coach will be gone, it is very 50-50 about his positional coach, who has lots of power over him and who is a good friend with the head coach. And not let any of it get to him. Quite a tall order for my boy.

    I just hope the situation solves itself to one way or another quickly and difficult child can hold it till then. But darn that he is talented in finding drama, or drama finding him, even when he isn't really even a participant.
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2015
  2. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    I read your post this morning and hoped I would have something worthwhile to say in a response by afternoon. Not!
    The complexities of his environment really strike me as "more than" challenging. He's so young to have to sort thru the mixed messages that surround him. Wish I had advice but instead I am sending supportive hugs his way and yours.
  3. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    Yes, it is complex and challenging lifestyle. There are times when I feel bad that we ever gave him a ball to play with and even more took him to organized sports. Or hope that he at least would decide to leave the sports and pursue something more normal instead. Then again; I dread to even think there we would be with him, if he wouldn't have those dreams and goals and motivation to work with his issues, he has because of the sports.

    This kind of situation is not unique in European team sports and he is likely to come against something similar also again during his career, if he plans to make a real career out of his sport. So in some ways he is lucky, that his first similar issue happens, when he is both young and an outsider and not expected to actually actively take sides or be part of the drama. But because he is who he is, this kind of tension is tough for him emotionally. I did urge him to find out, if it would be possible to schedule an extra visit, or at least extra online meetings, with his sport psychiatric over this. And also consider, if he felt the need for extra skype appointments with his therapist.

    What difficult child does know, the situation seems to have started like they usually do. Coach has teetered on line of acceptable and unacceptable with some players and stepped over that line with one and things have snowballed from there. In this case the over the line thing seems to be, that they have told a injured long time player that he is free to look for the new team (not that uncommon, not usually done during the injury but early heads up can be even appreciated even if the player is injured.) Over the line part is, that while they have of course been paying for him (and will continue to pay till his contract ends if he is not finding a new team), he was told he is not welcomed to be part of team functions or use team resources during his rehab. And that is really against the standard procedure in these. And when team captain has questioned these decisions, coach has been rude and dismissed him.

    difficult child also finds that coach is being unfair to his flatmate, venting his frustrations on him and just criticising without trying to help him do better. That of course could be an attempt to drive him out on his own accord. He hasn't been performing like they hoped and if the team lets him go, they have to pay him till he finds a new team, but if he wants to go himself, they don't. Wouldn't be the first or last time the team does that. Some well known cases to force a player to leave on their own accord have been rather heinous. Humiliating them till they have enough is unfortunately not that unknown, people being kicked out from the locker room and reseated to broom closets, made to do embarrassing and unpleasant 'pr work', tarnishing their reputation and whatever. It can be a very cruel business.

    It is lucky difficult child isn't really in centre of this, but he is sensitive to this kind of tension and it isn't easy for him to just lay low, not let it get to him and let it pass.
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2015
  4. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    SuZir, your sons experiences now do seem complex and dramatic...........it brought to mind a comment my granddaughter's therapist made when she was 4 years old, after her Dad had committed suicide and we were all grappling with how to come to grips with all of it. I was still stunned and so worried about the kids..............the therapist said, "you never know what your granddaughter's destiny is...........perhaps she will be a psychologist who specializes in working with people who've lost their parents to suicide."

    That remark broke through the moment for me, it gave me this little glimpse of the big picture which helped me get through that time. The interesting thing too, as I write that, is that the next therapist I found for my granddaughter confided to me much later that her husband had committed suicide so she had this strong connection to not only my granddaughter, since she had a daughter too, but to me...........she helped both of us get through that time in a way another therapist may not have because of her own experience.

    Fast forward to now, my granddaughter at 17 has this uncanny ability to be present for others and their various forms of pain, she has great empathy and compassion. She is now trying to get a volunteer position at this place in town which specializes in dealing with the grief children go through with the loss of a parent. She went there herself and feels she can be of service to those kids. Her senior project is related to children.

    She may not be a psychologist, but what that therapist told me all those years ago is true, she has developed skills and traits and she has gifts which are all a result of all that has happened to her. Her compassion for other kids has helped some of her peers get through some pretty bad times.........

    All of these experiences your son is having may someday all blend together for him and become positive talents he possesses which will end up serving him well in life. We just don't know what their future fate is. Your son has a front seat to all of this and although it may be tough on him now, later in life, it may offer him real life experiences which will serve him.
  5. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    RE, you are right about life experience. It is a silver lining in this. difficult child, when he some day actually grows up, has some really powerful and unique experiences under his belt. And maybe at some day he can put all those to use.

    If he ever gets there.
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2015
  6. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    Took its time, but this situation is resolved to certain degree. Head coach was let go and also some of his assistants decided to walk away with him, including difficult child's positional coach. New head coach has been there a bit now already but they just yesterday brought in the new positional coach. New head coach is a solid pro by reputation, but positional coach is a downgrade. Very wet behind the ears as a coach, not much to tell as a player (not that good coach needs to have been an elite player, far from that; often best coaches have not been that good players themselves, but this guy is also new to coaching so total mystery.) Hopefully difficult child is able to handle it like a pro, but I don't have my hopes up. Dealing with authority figures is one thing he still has lot of work to do, and for him to cope even reasonably with them, he needs to have some respect for them. There is nothing in this guy's resume that would make difficult child to respect him as a pro. If difficult child lets that show, he is bound to make his own life much harder than necessary.

    Still, difficult child is well aware that in this situation it is his job to impress his new coaches and that battle for playing time starts over more or less.

    Hopefully tension inside the team calms down and difficult child can again be more comfortable at locker room and while travelling. Weeks of high tension have been taxing to him and he has been weary every time we have talked well over a month now. Hopefully coaching change also helps difficult child's flatmate to do better because if he will be let go, difficult child will be very alone out there.
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2015
  7. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Before heading to work I just had a thought. (Shame I don't have more of those things! LOL) "Somewhere in a mag or on the Net I really think I read about an instant translation machine that is/was similar in size to a SmartPhone. " It may cost thousands of dollars OR not even exist but that sure would be handy for your difficult child. I can't imagine how frustrating it would be to sit and listen for an hour or so with-o understanding the language and then get a recap in a couple of sentences. DDD
  8. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    DDD: Heh, they are developing some simultaneous translator programs but I seriously doubt that those will be any good for long time, when it comes to actual translating speech that people talk. I mean, even text translators are not working much at all and with speech there comes to play things like slangs, dialects, accents, speech impairments and name it. I bet it will be long while before they can make any machine sort all that out.

    However, luckily things are not quite that bad normally for difficult child. That one crisis meeting was probably full of quick and heated discussion and that is something that is very difficult to translate to other simultaneously. Usually their meetings are more structured and need for translating is better accommodated and difficult child and his flatmate will get most of the message. Of course according difficult child coach's motivational speeches before game etc. tend to shorten from minute or few to 'Let's go and win', but I'm sure difficult child and flatmate are not loosing much in that. When you have heard your ten first motivational sport speeches from coaches, you have heard them all. And probably if it is exceptionally (unintentionally) funny or bad they are getting a more through translation ;)
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2015