Comment on weight inappropriate

Published 4:35 pm Tuesday, August 4, 2009

On today, I had a very unpleasant conversation with Coach Singletary, the softball coach for Bainbridge High School. My daughter is an upcoming eighth-grader at Bainbridge Middle School and is currently on their softball team. Well on July 29, she stated to me that Coach Singletary had referred to her as “big girl,” in which she felt was very embarrassing.

I talked with her and told her just to go to camp, do which is required of her to do, and get through it.

Well, as I was sitting waiting to pick her up one day, I chose to get outside my car and observe what all the girls had learned. At this particular moment, the drill was to run through first and “look” for the ball before going to second. To my shock, with it being my child’s turn, I myself overheard Coach Singletary say, “Come on big girl.”

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I was indeed surprised that he would use the term in the presence of parents, not knowing whose child he was talking about.

Well, as a parent, after practice, I approached him and questioned him about it.

He stated he didn’t mean any harm, but in sports, you have to learn to take criticism. OK, I don’t disagree with that, but shouldn’t the criticism be about the game, not about the player’s physical appearance? And yes, being in shape is definitely important with sports, but there is a way to say anything. I stated to him that I understood all that, but, coming to him from a parent’s perspective, I would appreciate it if he would refrain from the name calling. I went on to let him know that yes, she was upset about it.

His response?

He asked me if it upset her enough to do something about it. Excuse me?

I asked, “Do something about what?”

He said, “Losing weight.”

Still, I am dumbfounded at his response. First of all, she is a child that obviously was a good enough player to be put on the team. Second, shouldn’t that be something, if he felt it was going to be a problem, he or the coach of the team should have talked to me about?

Third, he made it look like she was this oversized child who didn’t have the ability to do anything. My point, with him being the adult who is supposed to be a leader and preparing these girls for positive things in life, why would you want to tear down a child’s self-esteem in the presence of others? That is what is so upsetting about the ordeal. That’s one of the reasons a lot of girls don’t like to participate in sports, because they are too afraid of being ridiculed for the imperfections. This is not right at all, and I would like to say to Coach Singletary and anyone else that’s supposed to be a leader in the school system, be mindful of what you say to children. You don’t know what this child may be enduring on the inside, and comments like those can set off a lot of suppressed thoughts.

Now I will say this, I hope my child never has to come to me and inform me on any negativity on her appearance again, because next time, I won’t talk directly to you, I’ll take it to the board.

Too many teenagers are dealing with depression because of things of this matter. Some have even taken their own lives. But the devil is a lie if I let anybody, especially an adult that is supposed to be trying to keep kids in positive situations and who work with kids all day, be the reason thoughts like this take over my child’s mind.

I don’t care how anyone feels about me after this post, but do know, other than their education, my top priority with my children are making sure they are comfortable in all situations, not only sports, but in their everyday lives. If there is a parent who will sit back and accept anything of the sort, I pray for you because I refuse to let my child be part of the statistics.

Afterwards, he made the statement; “Well I won’t be the one having to look at her the majority of the time, her coach will.” Now is that not, pardon my French, a bunch of { baloney} ?

Sincerely,LaShana Reels Williams