It was just a simple error. Just two typos. I was rushing to get an email out to my older soccer team I’m coaching. I was also trying to figure out the scheduling conflicts between the other coach and I for this team. I was trying to build a snack sign-up on a Google document to make it easy to know who had snack for each game. I also had already emailed my younger team, which is when I created the draft email I used for this team.
But I made two typos on email addresses and two sets of parents got no information. So they contacted the division coordinator who contacted me this morning. She was friendly, but direct. Did you contact your parents? I snapped back with a screen shot of my email showing all the addresses I had sent it too. She replied with “Well, the two parents who contacted us are these two email addresses, which you have wrong on your email.”
I have printed out both rosters, both schedules, made two Google documents for the snack sign-ups, made sure the link works, developed a solid practice plan, tasked the other coach to prepare a goalie training plan in case we don’t have an experienced goalie and need to build one.
I spent a lot of time thinking about how to solve our problem of not enough players. Well, just enough players. We have no subs. But we are allowed to use other players as long as they are at the same division or younger, and registered with this league. So our younger children can sub in for some of the games, if they’ve already played their own game.
I know it’s just a simple error and I thought I checked at least two more times after I typed the email addresses. But I guess I didn’t check or I just didn’t catch it. And now I feel really stupid. Like I’m the biggest idiot alive and the division coordinator hates me and thinks I’m lazy and dumb. She did just say there were two small typos. But I feel so bad. Like almost shame that I messed up like this. I felt so good last week, like I was on it 100% and there was no one more organized than me this season.
Organization is something I have always struggled with. I wanted to be perfect for this soccer season. Last season some things fell through the cracks and we didn’t have a snack for a few of the games. I realized halfway through the season that I didn’t tell the parents much about me. And I know they thought I was quirky and ran weird drills that the kids found hilariously fun.
But I wanted to be better this season. And I feel like I already failed. I hate that about myself. That I can get 15 things right and perfect and one tiny thing is wrong and I can’t get that one thing out of my head and I feel like everything is ruined. Why do I have to be like this?
Perhaps the better question is why AM I like this? What made me this way? That self-reflection leads me down a painful path that I try to not walk very often. It means acknowledging trauma in my home, with my parents, in my upbringing. It means once again revisiting the fact that I felt like a constant disappointment because I could have all As and one B, and that one B would be all we talked about. It’s still better than average, but average wasn’t good enough for me. I could wash all the dishes and not see one cup on the table, and I’d get screamed at for that one cup; not praised for the 25 that were clean, dried, and put away.
I could do everything right for weeks and have one bad day and then be grounded for a week or more. There was no end to the amount of tiny things my parents pointed out throughout the day. I was picked apart constantly. Stand up straight, chew with your mouth closed, don’t slouch in your chair, don’t frown, be happy, stop arguing, why can’t you just get along like your brother? It was a never ending stream of criticism about every.little.thing.
Guess what? That stream still runs steady in my head most of the time. I have learned to ignore it most of the time, sort of like plugging my ears and saying “NAH NAH NAH I CANNOT HEAR YOU!” But it’s still there, steady as ever. Ready to pounce on the first moment of self-doubt it can find. At least it doesn’t conjure up that moment like it used to. But it waits, hiding in the shadows, ready to point out that I am indeed no better than I’ve ever been, and all these tiny moments prove it.
The next, better question to ask myself is why don’t all those winning moments count more than the handful of tiny moments? If you pick up a handful of pennies, it will be heavier than a handful of dollar bills, but worth so much less. So why can’t I make myself see that all of those tiny mistakes are like pennies and the big wins are like dollar bills? Maybe I can start visualizing it like that and maybe I can feel more positive when I make these tiny mistakes. The division coordinator has been very kind this whole time, especially in person. There’s nothing about the tone of her email that is judgmental or rude. She’s just trying to help. She hasn’t decided that I am worthless or incompetent. She is literally just trying to help out parents who don’t understand why they haven’t heard anything.
I don’t want to get myself stuck in this self-hatred because it’s like a sticky fly trap. The more I thrash around in it, the more stuck I get. I don’t like how stuck feels. I don’t like living in those moments of self-doubt. It feels terrible. So I will pick myself up from this really tiny mistake, resend the email and apologize to those two parents, and move on from there. It’s really no big deal.