To The Coach Who Bullied Me In High School

To The Coach Who Bullied Me In High School

When you stopped the game, why was I the only one you screamed at?
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To the coach who bullied me in high school,

Throughout my entire life, I have always loved sports. I couldn't imagine my life without them. If I went one day without being active in some way, shape or form, my day would feel incomplete. That was until I hit high school.

Before I had you as a coach, I've always loved going to practices, no matter what sport it was. Even if I felt like throwing up, I would still push through either a practice or a game, and wait until I got home to pass out either on the couch or my bed. I would come home and typically feel good about my performance that day. I've always had in interest in music and theater, but I knew you would get on me for having any commitments besides you and "your" team. I was warned about you before even officially joining the team, but I loved the sport enough, so I shrugged off everyone else and was still committed to you. I even played for you the day I got hit in the head with a giant rock by another student, because I was the only first baseman, and I didn't want to let you down, even though everyone else thought I was crazy for making that decision. I've also turned down an opportunity to go to a state conference that could have been a huge resume booster, only so that I wouldn't be benched the rest of my senior year.

After finally being able to start varsity, you told me that I had the potential to be a backup pitcher. This was when I had started paying to get lessons, hoping that one day you would let me pitch a game. No, I didn't expect to do it much since I had already had another starting position, and was a backup but when both my mom and I were taking money out of our pockets weekly for lessons, I expected to at least get to do it a little. You didn't even give me that opportunity until the last game, 21 games into the season, against the worst team in the league. By that time, I had quit going to lessons because I no longer saw a point in wasting the money, only to get let down each game. This was when I got scolded for not practicing any. Maybe I would have practiced if I had gotten an actual opportunity to do it in a game, rather than completely wearing out our starter, making her pitch double headers by herself, multiple times.

Typically, a teenage girl would be worried about other players bullying her. Yes, this was true with me as well, but what I was more worried about was you bullying me. We were winning by 8 runs, and all of a sudden, had a bad inning, allowing way too many runs to be scored. Yes, I will admit that should not have happened, but when you stopped the game, why was I the only one you screamed at? I will never forget the words you said to me that day, "What the hell is the matter with you Lipani? Did you forget how to play the game? Step it up or you're out of the game!" I was used to getting blamed, because there's no better person to blame for a messed up play than the first baseman. Never did I think it would be to that extent though. Not to mention this was in front of everybody's parents, and it was not quietly said either. Did you forget that there were 5 mistakes made previous to mine, that were probably more crucial?

There was a double header that day, and you decided to sit me out the second game for crying, and my head not completely being there. Of course, I'm going to cry and be upset when you completely embarrassed me in front of my parents, my best friend, as well as all of the other parents that were there that day. From that point on, I was terrified to go to practices, or games, and I was so close to quitting, with just a couple short weeks left in my final season. At that point, I didn't even care, I just wanted to be done with you, and no longer treated like one less from the rest of the team.

Maybe I would have tried playing in college or travel ball if it wasn't for you. You've taken away a lot of my confidence when it comes to sports. People told me I was a good player, but I didn't believe them because you've torn me down so many times. Even at the awards banquet, your favorite memory of me was of me tripping over my shoe and having to crawl to the base to get the out. Maybe you were trying to be funny (and I'll admit it kind of was), but you had nothing better to say? Everyone else got great things said about them and mine was that? Even to this day, I still get a nervous feeling in my stomach whenever I see you around.

Even though you've made my time with you a living nightmare, you have taught me that I am a stronger and better person than how you treated me. I deserve to be respected, and If I can get through you being my coach for 4 years, I can get through just about anything tough that comes my way.

Cover Image Credit: stocksnap.io

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The Coach That Killed My Passion

An open letter to the coach that made me hate a sport I once loved.
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I fell in love with the game in second grade. I lived for every practice and every game. I lived for the countless hours in the gym or my driveway perfecting every shot, every pass and every move I could think of. Every night after dinner, I would go shoot and would not allow myself to go inside until I hit a hundred shots. I had a desire to play, to get better and to be the best basketball player I could possibly be.

I had many coaches between church leagues, rec leagues, personal coaches, basketball camps, middle school and high school. Most of the coaches I had the opportunity to play for had a passion for the game like I did. They inspired me to never stop working. They would tell me I had a natural ability. I took pride in knowing that I worked hard and I took pride in the compliments that I got from my coaches and other parents. I always looked forward to the drills and, believe it or not, I even looked forward to the running. These coaches had a desire to teach, and I had a desire to learn through every good and bad thing that happened during many seasons. Thank you to the coaches that coached and supported me through the years.

SEE ALSO: My Regrets From My Time As A College Softball Player

Along with the good coaches, are a few bad coaches. These are the coaches that focused on favorites instead of the good of the entire team. I had coaches that no matter how hard I worked, it would never be good enough for them. I had coaches that would take insults too far on the court and in the classroom.

I had coaches that killed my passion and love for the game of basketball.

When a passion dies, it is quite possibly the most heartbreaking thing ever. A desire you once had to play every second of the day is gone; it turns into dreading every practice and game. It turns into leaving every game with earphones in so other parents don't talk to you about it. It meant dreading school the next day due to everyone talking about the previous game. My passion was destroyed when a coach looked at me in the eyes and said, "You could go to any other school and start varsity, but you just can't play for me."

SEE ALSO: Should College Athletes Be Limited To One Sport?

Looking back now at the amount of tears shed after practices and games, I just want to say to this coach: Making me feel bad about myself doesn't make me want to play and work hard for you, whether in the classroom or on the court. Telling me that, "Hard work always pays off" and not keeping that word doesn't make me want to work hard either. I spent every minute of the day focusing on making sure you didn't see the pain that I felt, and all of my energy was put towards that fake smile when I said I was OK with how you treated me. There are not words for the feeling I got when parents of teammates asked why I didn't play more or why I got pulled after one mistake; I simply didn't have an answer. The way you made me feel about myself and my ability to play ball made me hate myself; not only did you make me doubt my ability to play, you turned my teammates against me to where they didn't trust my abilities. I would not wish the pain you caused me on my greatest enemy. I pray that one day, eventually, when all of your players quit coming back that you realize that it isn't all about winning records. It’s about the players. You can have winning records without a good coach if you have a good team, but you won’t have a team if you can't treat players with the respect they deserve.

SEE ALSO: To The Little Girl Picking Up A Basketball For The First Time


Cover Image Credit: Equality Charter School

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5 Things To Take Away From The 2019 Sugar Bowl

The 2019 Sugar Bowl was a test of mental strength between the Texas Longhorns and the Georgia Bulldogs. In the end, the Longhorns held on to win 28-21, yet there aren't too many reasons to fret over this shocking upset.

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1. Sidelined Defense 

Georgia struggled to run a pressure defense on Texas Quarterback Sam Ehlinger, but this was not unexpected. Georgia was missing star DB Deandre Baker, who sat out to preserve his stock in the 2019 NFL Draft, OLB D'Andre Walker who was tending a groin injury, and DL Jordan Davis who was fighting a back injury.

2. Offensive Fighters 

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While multiple injuries plagued the Bulldogs this season, many who had issues should be at full capacity by the start of the 2019 season. These include some current starters, such as brick wall Offensive Linemen Ben Cleveland and Cade Mays. There are also some who started the season hindered by an injury, such as 5-star RB Zamir White who suffered an ACL injury in the pre-season. Also missing from action was freshman all-purpose back James Cook, a large weapon in the slot and sideline sweep plays. This nearly made the Georgia run game one dimensional and leads to another large factor in the failure to launch in UGA's usual offensive prowess.

3. RUN THE BALL... or maybe not

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The Georgia running game has always been a staple of the team's offensive success. The Sugar Bowl was an opportunity to capitalize on a Texas defense who has been known to miss tackles. The Georgia run game was shut down, only amassing 72 yards total. Partially due to preparation by the Texas defense, this stoppage also had lots to do with a lack of confidence that may Georgia rushers usually come equipped with. D'Andre Swift fumbled twice in the game, and even one misstep such as a lost fumble can shoot a young back's confidence. Elijah Holyfield was also stuffed at the line through all but 5 rushes on the day. A player who has been very overlooked by the media and limelight alike has been Junior Brian Herrien, who, while only gaining 17 yards on the ground, scored Georgia's first touchdown of the night, and fought for yards on every carry he was afforded. With a healthy future for James Cook and Zamir White and both Herrien and Holyfield reportedly returning for their senior seasons, this team's rushing attack should only get better.

4. The Future

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Georgia has another top 5 projected recruiting class to add onto the already young roster. This includes five committed 5-star players such as 1st ranked recruit in the nation DE Nolan Smith, 1st ranked ILB Nakobe Dean, 1st ranked center Clay Webb who was flipped from his home state Alabama team, 2nd ranked DT Travon Walker, and top 10 WR Dominick Blaylock. This fills in gaps left by stars such as center Lamont Gaillard, DE Jonathan Ledbetter, WR Terry Godwin, and LB D'Andre Walker.

5. A Show of Class

Head Coach Kirby Smart made it very clear to the public this season that he was not satisfied with a game won with extraneous penalties, and this showed as the Bulldogs totaled 0 penalties through the first half, and only 3 for the game in total. Towards the end of the game during the Georgia offense's last drive, Texas had 2 different cornerbacks disqualified for obvious targeting calls, and though Georgia was visibly upset and stood up for one another, there was a show in class by the team that exemplified what Bulldawg Nation strives for: respect. They knew by that time that the more focused team came to play, and seemed to run more efficiently when this occurred, with two fourth-quarter touchdowns.

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