Monday, March 17, 2014

Lessons from Feeny: You Don't Have to be Perfect

I am coaching JV softball (not that you would know considering we have been outside three times during the first 17 days of the season....thank you winter/snow). Due to all the snow, I'm yet again watching Boy Meets World and yet again thinking of all the things I can actually learn from a 90's sitcom with a teacher as a main character.

During an episode in season 7, Topanga decides to go on a diet because she has *gasp* gained weight. This of course causes everyone else to freak out about their weight. Corey also thinks that the reason why Topanga has gained weight is because she is pregnant (this is of course not true). The craziness ends up with everyone freaking out in the student union and Mr. Feeny trying to calm them all down because they are freaking out for no reason. It is here that Mr. Feeny saying this gem

Coaching high school girls allows me to see this even more than when I teach them. Every time they make a mistake, like over throwing a ball or not knowing where to backup, they say "Sorry." I asked them once why they say this, and the group of 14, 15, and 16 year old girls told me that they do it because they are supposed to say sorry when they messed up. I then asked why especially when some of them have never played the sport  so why would I expect them to know where to go when I have never taught them? One of them thought about it and said "Well coach, I guess we are just expected to be perfect."

I told them, much like Feeny did, that this is an unrealistic expectation and it is ridiculous to try to live up to it. From this I made a rule that you only say "Sorry" if you said something that hurt someone's feelings otherwise, you shouldn't always be sorry for mistakes because everyone makes mistakes. Only be sorry if you don't try to learn from them.

I told my boyfriend about this rule and he told me I should start listening to my own advice because I do the same thing. It was then that I realized, like my team, I do it because society expects me to.

It may be too late for me to change (I say at the age of 25) but I refuse to allow my team/students believe they have to be perfect. I want them to know that they are okay to make mistakes. I want them to learn from them and try to be better not focus on the fact that they aren't perfect. So what if you make mistakes? You shouldn't let society tell you that isn't okay.

I don't get mad at the girls when they say "Sorry." I just point at them and they go "I bad." Yeah, it is almost the same thing but by saying "My bad" they are admitting they made a mistake but they aren't apologizing for it. I'm going to try my best to make sure this idea sticks with them because I want them to know it is okay that they aren't perfect.

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