Despite your best efforts, my love for the sport lives on. I do not want to sound disrespectful, but after all, that’s how you treated me. I’ve chosen my words carefully because I still respect you. Everyone saw you as a loveable person and a family man, and I used to, as well. So why was I ousted? What did I do to you?
I don’t know if it was revenge at the previous coach or an already burning hate for me, but sophomore year, you threw me on JV after playing varsity the year before. I am a humble person, but even that was a very humbling experience. I did as I was told and fell into line. Eventually, I clawed my way back to varsity after refusing to be brought down, and even then, you stuck me in defense when I had been training for attack. I was the first to jump up whenever you needed a sub, and if it was any position except defense, you acted like I wasn’t there. It was not until the captain finally said, “We need an attack sub, just let her play!” that you even considered the idea.
Junior year, you shut me down emotionally, and it felt like I wasn’t a part of the team. I finally got to play my position, but if anything went wrong, that was on me, and I was sure to get yelled at for it. Once, you yelled so loud my parents heard your hateful words in the stands. Then, when I got a concussion in the first 15 minutes of a game, you never even saw me get hit, so I played the rest of the varsity game. Finally, when I was able to pull myself from play, you told me to sit down, never to go see a trainer or a doctor. Still, I showed up to the practices and the games while anxiously waiting to play after being released from a minor concussion. At practice, you threatened to kick me off the team, in front of my teammates, for wanting to run a lap. When my parents and I went to talk to you, you said “We (the team) just don’t have the talent to be good.” Gee, thanks for saying that to someone who had been playing for five years and had worked their a** off to better the team and to impress you. After the meeting, you continued to say to the other coaches present how much of a pain I am.
Senior year, I organized the fall conditioning only for you to pull that away from me and bestow it on another girl who you named as captain. I was shocked, not because I didn’t get captain, but because you said that the seniors, as a group, would be the captains. Regular season finally showed up, and you came to me and said, “I want you to teach all the new players to pass, shoot and catch like you do.” This was the first thing you said to me all year. It was like I didn’t exist, and you never said so much as a hello before that day. You finally decided you needed me, and I’m sure it hurt for you to realize that. I shared my tips and tricks with the team, not because you asked but for their own benefit. I came back with a new motto senior year: to play for myself because I love the game. When you realized you couldn’t break me, that I had only gotten better and better, only then did you start remembering me, you started saying “give Megan the ball, let her score.”
I had the best season ever, and I owe it all to me. I didn’t let you tear me down, I didn’t let you destroy our team and I didn’t stop being myself. I found another “coach,” the father of one of my good friends on the team, and he kept me from getting comfortable, he made me shoot left-handed and try new plays. So thank you for forgetting about me. The fire of your hate for me only drove me to be better than you or I could’ve imagined. Like metal, I got stronger as I was tempered with fire. I don’t forgive you, but that’s OK because I have grown from it, and I am so much more than all the flaws you saw in me.