My oldest daughter started playing softball when she was 6 years old. Tom was her coach. She loved playing, but I think he loved coaching more. About the time she was 7, we started playing at a new park so that she could play fastpitch instead of slow pitch. Being new to the park, the other dads thought they could use that to their advantage during the draft and leave Tom with the players that hadn't really played much. And, let's not forget to mention the fact that Coach Tom had a pony tail, and most of the other coaches were big brawny, clean cut southern boys. He didn't exactly look like he fit in. Of course all the other coaches thought they had stacked their teams, so it would be an easy season for them. But they were in for a surprise. When they asked for everyone to pick team names, again, we were left with the one no one wanted... the Wahoos. I thought it was a cool name. I had no idea that a wahoo was a fish... but, it really sounded like a fun name!
During the pre-season practices, it was clear that Tom was starting at square 1 with a few of the girls. But, this thrilled him. He absolutely loved teaching them. He had a drill for everything, and he made it fun for the girls. As team mom, I felt it necessary to be the head cheerleader. So before the first game, I listened in on Coach Tom's pre-game speech. When he finished his pep talk, I stepped in and said, "Hey girls, if you win this game, Coach Tom will wear a bow in his ponytail for the next game!" The girls all cheered. Coach Tom wasn't thrilled with me at all. But he was a good sport, so he agreed. And... Coach Tom wanted to win.:)
The team name turned out to be absolutely perfect. Everytime the girls did something good, we yelled "Waaaa Hoooo!". It was annoying, but we loved it. Best team name EVER! It was fun! And, to make it even cornier... the Hawaiian name for a Wahoo is the Ono.... So if the other team did something good, we would quietly say "oh no!" and just chuckle! Again... Best team name EVER! Yep... these softball families didn't really know what to think of us.
But all this cheering, and the promise of a hair bow, really made these girls try hard. They won the first game! And, before Tom could even say anything about the game, they sang "Hahaha, you have to wear a haaaaiiiirrrr bow! " So, any plans that they might forget went out the window.
Before the next game, I bought some ribbon with our team colors, and glued a bow to a hair clip. I bought extra ribbon and extra hair clips, just in case. And before the next game started, we had a bow ceremony. The girls all gathered in a circle and chanted "Cooooaaacchhh Toooommmm, Coooooaaaccchh Toommmmm" and did a little dance while I slowly clipped in the hair bow. They were completely psyched! Then came the question... "If we win again, will you wear the bow again?" And, Coach Tom said "If you win again, I'll wear 2 bows!" And I chimed in... "we'll have a bow cermony after the win" and held up the second bow! (Surprise Tom! )
Well... this little team of "non-players" surprised a lot of coaches. By the time the season was over, Coach Tom had 13 hair bows. He added one for each win. They never lost a game! The bow ceremony was more fun than the win at each game. The girls had a blast, and the parents had fun too. Now, he REALLY didn't fit in with the other coaches... but he had their respect.
The co-coach for our team thought this was hysterical. He laughed and told Tom that he was glad that he had short hair so he didn't have to wear any hair bows. But, he didn't know me very well! I bought one of those ball caps with the built in pony tail, and clipped on 13 bows and presented it to him IN FRONT OF THE GIRLS! Coach Dave had his own pony tail with hair bows for the championship game.
Well... "Coach Tom with the Pony Tail" had a winning season. And he had the hair bows to prove it. But, he's not the only one that had a great season. The girls had a blast! They learned alot about softball, about winning with flair, and doing their best no matter what anyone else thought. The tough country boy coaches learned alot too. I think we all did. You see, Coach Tom was there for the girls. He didn't care what anyone else thought, he cared about the team. And... that is a true winner!