For the first time in my entire life, I dread high school football. I dread going to the games, I dread sitting in the stands, I dread wearing the school colors. I dread it. This is my 23rd season as a Harlem Bulldog (which is my entire life), and for the first time in 23 years, I’m starting to hate even stepping foot into the stadium.
It’s not because we lose, it’s not because we aren’t the best, it’s not because of the players, and it’s not because of the coaches. It’s all because of the so-called “fans.” All this season, I’ve heard nothing but of how bad a job the coaches are doing: they should be fired; I’m tired of my tax money paying for this; let’s sign a petition telling the county we want someone different; and on and on it goes.
Well guess what? That’s my dad you’re talking about, and I’m tired of hearing it. My family has come home in tears after almost every game this year because of these comments, and I hate it. My dad no longer enjoys coaching because of it. He now questions if he should stay another year, all because of these so-called “Bulldog fans” who are just flat-out hateful.
My mom and I have confronted some at every game we’ve been to, and it’s getting ridiculous. We’ve learned to grow thick skin over the years, but this has crossed the line. Question calls, question plays, you can even question the coaches’ decisions on certain things, but don’t you dare question my dad or any of the other coaches’ ability to coach and their passion for these kids and for this team.
If you’re so great, then why aren’t you coaching? Why are you just sitting in the stands without gracing us with your wisdom on the sidelines? Why aren’t you giving up your time and energy day after day after day to help us out? Why aren’t you sacrificing time with you friends and family to shower your expertice on our players?
If you think you can turn us into a winning team, then prove it. Put your money where your mouth is; get out there and coach.
Not willing to do that? Then sit down and admire the men who have decided that coaching your son, nephew, grandson, brother or friend was worth the sacrifices they make. Encourage your player who gives 110 percent everytime he steps foot on that field, whether in practice or in the game, knowing his chances of winning a game are slim to none. Instead of tearing apart what was once a strong Bulldog community, join it.
It’s easy to sit and criticize from the stands; that’s why you’re doing it. It’s hard to get on the field and put your name behind those players as the team you’ve trained and prepared for each game, and that’s why you’re not doing that. If you can’t support, then don’t come. We don’t need you.
Ugh. I can’t wait for this season to be over.