Saturday, February 14, 2015
Decision Point and This is Not a Drill
In this post, I am writing to see if it will help me make a decision. Maybe if I see it all in black white it will help me make up my mind.
I am thinking about leaving our little club in Greensboro. I gave myself until the 1st of March to decide.
I talked with my coach about this. He suggested that my training partner (Who is also a coach in the Greensboro club.) and I start our own club. That isn't going to work for me. The reason I am thinking about leaving our club, is to simplify my life, so that I can use the gained time to work on things I want to do and need to do. Starting our own club goes in the wrong direction. At least for now. Maybe after year off or so, it might be an option.
Why I want to quit coaching as it relates to fencing.
1. Depending on others to be good and prompt at communications; follow through and punctual is a problem within the club. I am tired of dealing with it. More to it than that, but that is enough to record.
2 . I want to work on me and my time in fencing is finite. There are a number of things in fencing I would like to study or dabble in. If I coach twice a week in Greensboro and drive a four hour round trip to Charlotte to train. ( Yes, the round trip for my own training is over the top and after getting to bed around 1:00 am at night, I am not good for much the next morning. I often wonder if I am crazy for doing this, but it is the best place I can train in the state for epee and I like the people.) I need more time and something has to go.
3. I would like to be able to study with Coach Miller at UNC from time to time. My own coach ( Toomey) is great and I have no intention of leaving him for another club, as I have learned much from him, even if I lack the ability to apply some of it. But, "Coach" is my friend as well. He is now over 70 and he will not be doing this forever. From time to time, I would like to visit him for a "technical tune up". Now here is the deal. "Coach" gives 10 minute private lessons. They are technical. For them to be of major benefit, I would need to take them 2 or 3 times a week. That is not an option. So some of the value of going there is merely social and the ability to fence some different people. Still, it is something I would like to do from time to time.
4. I never wanted to be a coach. In the forerunner of our present club, the lady that started it and ran it had to take a year off. I went to Coach's College so I could help keep it going in her absence. I wanted to give back to the club and fencing. As it ended up, she left the club all together and my role as "helper" escalated into one of the primary coaches. It has been that way for around eight years now. I have spent a lot of time and effort attending clinics, being certified and learning from my coaches and others. Even if I quit the club, I still plan to work on learning coaching skills wherever I can acquire them. If there was a good coach in the area, that would take our club and be good to our kids, I would gladly give it to him/her. But there isn't. This is a dead zone for fencing and at present, we are the best fencing has in the area.
There are most likely more reasons I want to quit coaching, but that is enough for now.
Why I don't want to quit being a coach.
1. I am very fond of many of our kids and parents. Many are my friends.
2. If I quit, my training partner/fellow coach will quit as well. There are a couple of places in the area that teach foil or mostly dry foil, but as I stated before, this is a dead zone for fencing. I am 90% positive that the club would fold if we left. If not immediately, shortly after. Parents are buying kids equipment and such and we would just be pulling the fencing rug out from under them.
3. Are we ( My female training partner and fellow epee and "Introduction to Fencing" coach.) really great and knowledgeable at teaching fencing. No. We have some skills in that regard, and we could be/are pretty fair, but I would say "no". On the other hand, when it comes to nurturing fencers, what I consider the "coaching" part and not the instruction part, together we are frickin' awesome. The parents and kids see it and feel it right away. I know this sounds egotistical, but I think it is true. Together we are the yin and yang. We balance each other out perfectly.
4. I like to think of myself as a fencing coach. I admire a couple of coaches and I want to be like them. I never will, but I can be as much like them as is possible under my circumstances.
Well, I sort of scanned back over what I have written here. It hasn't helped me make up my mind at all. Maybe if I reread it a couple of times.
Until last Wednesday, I had decided I would quit at the end of the year. Then a mother of a new kid told us how good we were with the kids and that this was obviously a labor of love. We hear things like this all the time, but this was the first time since I made my decision. After that I am strolling into the dark and cold of the parking lot at the end of class. I am thinking to myself , "Damn".