Have I calmed down since Sunday night? No. Have we taken further actions? Yes. Pete has written an amazing letter to the youth soccer league president, pointing out issue after issue and, in the end, demanding our $1,800 in total fees back. I have written a post for the local news blog. At the suggestion of the editor, it will be run anonymously as an op-ed piece with an editor's note asking for readers' suggestions on what should be done.
The team manager, having included us on the list of recipients of an email outlining the practice schedule for the week, expressed surprise when I said the following:
"Obviously, since Coach has kicked Youngest off the A team, there is no need to include us in any further emails about this team."
She replied with:
"I need to look into this. The State Cup rosters were locked on September 5th, so I'm not sure what is going on. Let me talk to Coach today and get to the bottom of this."
Obviously, she hadn't read my pithy missive to the league president the previous night. My reply to her?
"There is no getting to the bottom of it, Manager. He kicked Youngest off the A team. Period."
Late in the day, the president emailed Pete and me, apologizing that he hadn't responded earlier because he'd been away with his daughter for the weekend. He asked for the two of us to sit down with him and talk rather than dealing through email. Unfortunately, I was at work until 9 last night, and Pete left at 5:30 this morning and won't be back until Friday. The two of them agreed that we'd arrange something for Friday.
Meanwhile, he sent me a note with the subject "It will all be ok. I promise you."
But it won't all be okay, and I told him that.
"President, I really do personally like you and I admire and appreciate what you're doing for the league, but when it comes to this situation, you cannot make that promise because it will not be okay. In the end, my son doesn't get to play the sport he loves because of the actions of his coach. Period. And I can't put him in another league because the rosters are locked."
And amid all this swirling, how is Youngest doing? As late as last night, he held out a ray of hope that he could still play. I squashed that for him. I explained that there are times when taking a stand for what is right is really hard, but really necessary. We have not told him that his coach was trying to kick him off the A team. He only knows that his coach is doing something that Pete and I cannot allow.
The coach truly is a horrible role model for the kids. Letting him continue unchallenged, playing favorites and showing such extremely poor sportsmanship in matches, is not an option. There are genies that, once released, cannot be put back into the bottle.
Now, folks, on a lighter note, here's the deal: I have in my possession the bag containing the game balls, goalie gloves and cones. Among the money we forked over is $150 to the team itself to pay for tournaments. (The remaining $1,700 went to registration, coaches/game fees and Youngest's uniform.) I want all of the money back, but that $150 in particular sticks in my craw. So, what to do with that bag of game balls and equipment? Of course, I want to hold onto it. Call it "ransom." Call it "collateral." Call it whatever you want.
What would you do with that bag?