I don’t think you’re aware of what you’ve done. You took an athlete, who made the sport her life, and turned her into a broken player who ended by giving up what she loves entirely too early. I saw you hurt people before me. I absolutely loved the sport so I thought I could handle it. Boy was I wrong. It shouldn’t have been like that.

Practice, otherwise known as running suicides and lots of unnecessary yelling, made my afternoons awful. I could enjoy practice with every other coach I’ve worked with, but you, you made me hate having to dress out and go to practice. The practice started with you yelling at me. I saw you give the other girls attention like they were little pets. Like everything they did was perfect and that they never messed up. I’m sorry I don’t kiss butt to get where I want to be. I’m sorry that I don’t give a ton of money to the club so I can buy my playing time. I’m sorry that you couldn’t see that I was one of the few athletes that were actually there to work. I’m sorry that you couldn’t see that I was one of the athletes working in overdrive to earn my playing time. I took one wrong step and you had me running around the gym until I was ready to puke, but no. If I had been one of the girls who was your favorite, you would’ve overlooked it and laughed it off. “Laugh it off,” that’s all you did. They would be lazy, show up late, not do anything to help set-up or clean-up and all you did was “laugh it off.” IF that had been me, 2 minutes late or being lazy, it would’ve been like WWIII with you. You screamed. Made me run like there was no tomorrow. Called me out in front of everyone. Yet, I still worked twice as hard to get your attention because I loved the sport. All I wanted to do was play. It shouldn’t have been like that.

Game day, otherwise known as just another day, I just happened to be wearing a jersey now and your humiliation was taking place in front of a fan base. You yelled at me, wanting me to be absolutely perfect. One mess up and I was out of the game. Meanwhile, the girl behind me just cost us 5 points, but it’s okay because she’s one of your favorites, right? It’s okay because daddy pays loads of money to the club, right? You took time-outs just to make me run. You took me out of games to work on technique that I’ve known since I was 8. You never did that to the other girls. You called me, and me only out, when something went wrong. You think everyone in the stands didn’t hear you? You think my mother didn’t see me fighting back tears because of the way you were tearing me down, in front of hundreds of people? A coach, while on the sidelines, is supposed to be helping her players that are on the court. You on the other hand, you picked me out. You picked me to constantly yell at. You picked me to verbally abuse from the sideline. You picked me to tear down like I couldn’t be broken. At the end of the game, I was the one that you yelled at. We could’ve won the game by 22 points, you still would’ve blamed their few points on me. It shouldn’t have been like that. You should’ve cheered me on when I did something right. All I ever wanted to hear from you was “good job.” I never got that from you. It shouldn’t have been like that.

Mentally, you had me ruined. You broke me. You tore me down. I never gave you the satisfaction of knowing that, though. That’s what you wanted. I considered quitting multiple times during the season because of you, but that wasn’t fair to my team. They didn’t see it, honestly. They didn’t have the same motivation. They didn’t work like some of us other girls. but I loved the sport. I was willing to go through hell under the coaching of Satan if it meant I could play. I went home every day and cried, though. You made my experience absolutely awful. My entire family saw me hurting because of you. They saw the tears I shed when I got in the car and just broke down because of how absolutely mean you are. They heard the words that I tried to choke out about how bad my practice was because of you. The saw my muscles tightening up and bruising from the physical punishment you put me through. They watched me sit the bench at games because of how unfair you are with your favorites on the team. They also saw my tears and heartbreak when I decided to give up the sport that I’ve loved for ten years, because of you. It shouldn’t have been like that.

I didn’t come back the next season. I didn’t show up for workouts. I got a job instead. I didn’t show up for tryouts. You were confused. You tried asking me what went wrong. You asked me multiple times to come back and play because you wanted me to play for you. Oh, you want me now? That’s not how it seemed when you were picking on me and making me feel so unwanted at the place I used to call my safe haven. At the time, I told you I was too busy to be playing a sport. I didn’t have the nerve to tell you how bad you scarred me. How bad you ruined me, mentally, physically and emotionally. How bad I wanted to be there but I simply couldn’t, because of you. How bad I needed to hear ‘good job’ but I never even got that. At the time, I was still scared of you. I didn’t realize how scared I was of you until you asked me why I wasn’t coming back. It shouldn’t have been like that.

I’ve come to terms with what you’ve done to me. You took a great player, who loved the sport with all of her heart and you turned her into a broken athlete who gave up what she loves. For the longest time, I blamed myself. I told myself that I quit. I told myself that you won. I told myself that I should’ve fought back.

No.

You didn’t win.

You didn’t deserve an athlete like me. Always on time. Always giving 110%. Always focusing on the goal at hand. Always helping out where possible.

You don’t even deserve to be called “coach.” You didn’t deserve to coach me. You DIDN’T coach me. You were a body in the gym who constantly put me down and was just plain out mean.

But you did teach me some things.

You taught me that I need to stick up for myself when I’m being treated unfairly. You taught me that no matter what you do in life, politics will always win and there will always be favorites. You taught me that I need to do what’s best for myself, even if it’s not what I want at the time. You taught me how to stand alone. You taught me that confidence is key. You taught me how to be confident in my talent and abilities when no one around me was.

You also made me learn how to live without the one thing I truly loved. That kind of heartbreak isn’t fun. It wasn’t a boyfriend, it wasn’t a family member... It was you. It was the worst kind of heartbreak. I wouldn’t wish it upon my worst enemy. Three years without this sport I love and I’m still hurting on a regular basis. It was my escape. It was my outlet. It was my safe haven. It was my life. How do you feel knowing that you’re the reason that a talented, hardworking, dedicated athlete who was in love with the sport for many years, gave it up because of you? You’re the reason that she didn’t get a letter in high school for the sport she loved. You’re the reason she was scared to take the next step to college ball because you broke her so bad. You're the reason that she's worried to coach her own team because I never want an athlete to feel like I do.

It wasn’t easy to sit back and write these words. You hurt me. I’m still hurt three years later. All this time, though, I was convinced that I was hurt because I quit what I loved to do.

No.

I’m hurt because you took a talented, hard-working, dedicated player and turned her into a broken athlete. That’s why I’m hurt. Because of you.