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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Michael Kinahan, Former Green Death Coach

From Patriot Ledger (Quincy, MA) via Deadspin:

THE COACH’S ORIGINAL E-MAIL

Congratulations on being selected for Team 7 (forest green shirts) of the Scituate Soccer Club! My name is Michael and I have been fortunate enough to be selected to coach what I know will be a wonderful group of young ladies. Chris Mac will also be coaching and I expect the ever popular Terry to return to the sidelines. Our first game will be Saturday April 4 at 10:00AM. There will be a half hour of skills followed by a 1 hour game, so total time will be 1.5 hours. All games will be played on the fields in the front of the High School. Each player will be required to wear shin guards and cleats are recommended but not required. A ball will be provided to each player at the first meeting, and each player should bring the ball to games and practices. There is no set practice time allotted for the U8 teams, but I will convene with the coaches to determine the best time and place. If there are cancellations due to rain, all notices will be posted via the Scituate Soccer Club website, no calls will be made (though I will try to send an email). Attached is the Schedule and Code of Conduct. After listening to the head of the referees drone on for about 30 minutes on the dangers of jewelry (time which I will never get back), no player will be allowed to play with pierced ears, hairclips, etc. We used to tape the earings, but that practice is no longer acceptable. Please let me know if your child has any health issues that I need to be aware of. My home phone is 781 XXX XXXX, my cell number is 781 XXX XXXX, and I check my email frequently. According to my wife, my emails get too wordy, so for those of you read too slowly, are easily offended, or are too busy, you can stop here. For the others……

OK, here’s the real deal: Team 7 will be called Green Death. We will only acknowledge “Team 7” for scheduling and disciplinary purposes. Green Death has had a long and colorful history, and I fully expect every player and parent to be on board with the team. This is not a team, but a family (some say cult), that you belong to forever. We play fair at all times, but we play tough and physical soccer. We have some returning players who know the deal; for the others, I only expect 110% at every game and practice. We do not cater to superstars, but prefer the gritty determination of journeymen who bring their lunch pail to work every week, chase every ball and dig in corners like a Michael Vick pit bull. Unless there is an issue concerning the health of my players or inside info on the opposition, you probably don’t need to talk to me. Coach MacDonald has been designated “good guy” this year.

Some say soccer at this age is about fun and I completely agree. However, I believe winning is fun and losing is for losers. Ergo, we will strive for the “W” in each game. While we may not win every game (excuse me, I just got a little nauseated) I expect us to fight for every loose ball and play every shift as if it were the finals of the World Cup. While I spent a good Saturday morning listening to the legal liability BS, which included a 30 minute dissertation on how we need to baby the kids and especially the refs, I was disgusted. The kids will run, they will fall, get bumps, bruises and even bleed a little. Big deal, it’s good for them (but I do hope the other team is the one bleeding). If the refs can’t handle a little criticism, then they should turn in their whistle. The sooner they figure out how to make a decision and live with the consequences the better. My heckling of the refs is actually helping them develop as people. The political correctness police are not welcome on my sidelines. America’s youth is becoming fat, lazy and non-competitive because competition is viewed as “bad”. I argue that competition is good and is important to the evolution of our species and our survival in what has become an increasingly competitive global economy and dangerous world. Second place trophies are nothing to be proud of as they serve only as a reminder that you missed your goal; their only useful purpose is as an inspiration to do that next set of reps. Do you go to a job interview and not care about winning? Don’t animals eat what they kill (and yes, someone actually kills the meat we eat too – it isn’t grown in plastic wrap)? And speaking of meat, I expect that the ladies be put on a diet of fish, undercooked red meat and lots of veggies. No junk food. Protein shakes are encouraged, and while blood doping and HGH use is frowned upon, there is no testing policy. And at the risk of stating the obvious, blue slushies are for winners.

These are my views and not necessarily the views of the league (but they should be). I recognize that my school of thought may be an ideological shift from conventional norms. But it is imperative that we all fight the good fight, get involved now and resist the urge to become sweat-xedo-wearing yuppies who sit on the sidelines in their LL Bean chairs sipping mocha-latte-half-caf-chinos while discussing reality TV and home decorating with other feeble-minded folks. I want to hear cheering, I want to hear encouragement, I want to get the team pumped up at each and every game and know they are playing for something.

Lastly, we are all cognizant of the soft bigotry that expects women and especially little girls, to be dainty and submissive; I wholeheartedly reject such drivel. My overarching goal is develop ladies who are confident and fearless, who will stand up for their beliefs and challenge the status quo. Girls who will kick ass and take names on the field, off the field and throughout their lives. I want these girls to be winners in the game of life. Who’s with me?

Go Green Death!

--

KINAHAN’S RESIGNATION

Team, After careful consideration, I have decided to resign from all coaching responsibilities related to Team 7 this season. Unfortunately, it has come to my attention that some parents and the Board of Scituate Soccer failed to see the humor in my pre-season email. For the avoidance of doubt, the email was largely (albeit not completely) meant in jest and with the goal of giving the parents a chuckle while enduring yet another round of organized youth sports. It was also meant as a satire of those who take youth sports too seriously for the wrong reasons. My overarching goal is the well-being of my players, and I do not want any player to feel uncomfortable, nor do I want to see the team disbanded because of a lack of active players. Therefore, while I’d prefer to go down swinging, it’s really about the kids and it just makes more sense for me to take the year off.

While I respectfully disagree with the Board's interpretation of my comments, I believe that they should be commended for their immediate actions to address the concerns of the offended parties. The Board’s action proves that the chain of command is functioning as designed. Board members volunteer their valuable time and I do not plan to add to their already significant workload. I also respect those parents who were offended as I am sure they acted in the best interest of their children. While I may question their sense of humor, I have no right to question their judgment regarding their children. Perhaps we may even have beer (I’ll buy) and a couple of laughs at the end of all of this.

And while I am sorry some people failed to see the humor, I do not apologize for my actions; I wrote it, I think it's funny and I do have a distaste for the tediousness of overbearing political correctness. Furthermore, I was serious about parental involvement as I do believe parents should cheer and encourage players (in a positive fashion obviously) so that the kids feel the excitement that comes from team competition. And most importantly, I was completely serious that I want to see each young girl develop a positive self image, self-confidence and the will to succeed in any endeavor that she desires. Lastly, I have added some comments to my initial email (in capitals) to clarify several points that may have been viewed as offensive.

Sincerely,

Michael A. Kinahan

Go Green Death!

5 Comments:

Blogger Charles said...

I hope that when my daughter is old enough to play youth soccer (or baseball or basketball), she is lucky enough to have a coach like Mike Kinahan. I did not find his season-opening email to parents to be offensive. In fact, I thought it was pretty funny.

I don't know what kind of guy Mr. Kinahan is though. Certainly ridiculing a 12 year old referee so hard that she quits is totally whacked. If that's true, then shame on him. Tone it down, buddy. And maybe the offended parents and league know some things about him that put the email in a differnt context. But based on the email standing by itself, I dont' see what all the fuss is about. Charles, New York.

Wed Apr 01, 08:04:00 AM 2009

 
Blogger A said...

His initial and follow up letters (Find them on - barstool sports-)do not mention anything about a 12 year old ref. That was posted on a forum like this. If I say he's from Mars do you believe that to?

Wed Apr 01, 09:56:00 AM 2009

 
Blogger Jeff said...

Actually, it was in the Boston Herald. A league official was quoted in a Herald story mentioning the 12-year-old referee.

Fri Apr 17, 12:45:00 PM 2009

 
Blogger Joseph said...

I think his approach to young referees is way off the mark. His approach to coaching soccer, teaching intensity and success, are near-perfect. I wish the league would have just told him to leave the young refs alone and let him coach his team.

Mon Nov 23, 12:31:00 PM 2009

 
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