Open Letter to Coaches Everywhere from a Busy Working Mom

April 28, 2014 | By | Comments (22)

fold-letter-2_300Dear _________ Coach,

First, thank you for coaching my son’s ________ team. I have never been a coach myself, but imagine the job involves long hours, recalcitrant/sleepy/hormonal/dim-witted kids and weather that is too cold/hot/rainy/windy to make your ________ team as effective as it can be.

And the parents! Let me just say we mean well. And when we are making a lot of noise on the sidelines, you really should not take it personally. We aren’t yelling at you, we’re yelling at the ref.

Really, Coach, I am grateful for all that you do, especially because I know my son can sometimes be a real ___________.

The reason for my letter today is because I have a little problem. Like many parents of your players, at the beginning of the season I carefully put the entire home game schedule on my work calendar, so that I and anyone who is privy to my calendar (which somehow seems like everyone; I blame Edward Snowden) can see the afternoons I have to leave early for a _________ game. It is a lovely system. And it seems utterly and completely broken.

Here is how the games I put on my calendar this season have turned out so far:

1) Rained out

2) Played, mysteriously, at 10:30 am after being scheduled for 4:30 pm

3) Scheduled for Tuesday after being originally scheduled for Monday, then “postponed” on Tuesday morning because there was no available ref

4) Rescheduled for date TBD for reason I never learned

5) Cancelled because the other school, as it turned out, did not have a ________ team after all

So I’m writing, Dear Coach, to make one simple request: Can you, God, school administrators, and the coaches of all competing schools please get together to help me and all busy, overscheduled parents­—Moms or Dads, working or stay-at-home—make it to one, just one, game this season?

Yours truly,



  1. Ali Jencik

    Great letter, Kristin! But, I have to tell you — we, coaches, frequently feel the exact same way!!! haha :)
    Coach Ali

    April 29, 2014 at 4:29 pm
  2. Mom

    I have an idea. Why doesn’t this mother volunteer to be the team manager?! Then the coach can focus on coaching and won’t have to listen to complaining parents?

    April 29, 2014 at 4:36 pm
  3. Debbie Bailey

    From a coach’s wife: Mama, you have no idea!

    April 29, 2014 at 4:39 pm
  4. Diane

    This is the most asinine thing I have ever read in Real Simple magazine, and that’s saying something. How embarrassing!

    April 29, 2014 at 4:44 pm
  5. Chris

    Dimwitted kids – that’s pretty rude to put in a letter. Then don’t have your kid in sports if you can’t handle it. And I’m sure the coach is well aware of how the games got rescheduled. Stupid letter.

    April 29, 2014 at 4:52 pm
  6. Nancy

    We can’t control the weather. Life happens. Sometimes things happen that are out of the coaches control and we are left having to be the face that you see. How about instead of an open letter to a coach- just a thank you letter to a coach for all the unseen stuff they give up? (i.e. time with the families, sleep for having to enter results/fix lines ups/ worrying about parents getting on them about things they can’t control.) If you don’t coach-then volunteer for a home event. That is more helpful then this type of letter.

    April 29, 2014 at 5:03 pm
  7. MollyC

    busy working mom…….just “Mom” would have been fine. We are all busy and working. I’ve said it about Cub Scouts, baseball, holiday classroom parties etc……unless I volunteer to help…It’s best to just say “Thanks! But you don’t have to like to say it!

    April 29, 2014 at 5:11 pm
  8. Chris

    I have an idea for you – stop wasting time writing a letter like this, so you can get your work done (whatever it might be, it’s probably not as hard as working with other people’s children is) and make it to your kid’s game? You might have to step down from your high horse though. Teachers, Coaches & Camp Counselors… deserve more from parents. How about a real thank you?

    April 29, 2014 at 5:14 pm
  9. Nicole

    And this is why we have so many kids that think they are entitled. Poop happens, schedules change, it rains, it snows, it’s called life. Oh and PS, the world doesn’t revolve around you, the sooner you get that, the better off you will be. You probably think that everyone deserves a trophy too…

    April 29, 2014 at 5:17 pm
  10. Amy

    Dear Open Letter Writer,

    It is not all about you. No matter how much you want it to be.

    Signed, Parents who are able to accept that “things happen” and also take personal responsibility without blaming others to make themselves feel less guilty.

    April 29, 2014 at 6:03 pm
  11. Anissa Dodick

    having been both a coach (1 season) and a manager for both kids for 7+ years, this mom needs a little more info before complaining about schedules. most coaches and managers have little control over game changes…for everything to work; the opposing team must commit & show up, fields must be available (right size, right time), refs must show up (the right number at the right time) and the weather-forget it! coaches and managers bust their rears to make everything go smoothly. maybe this mom has forgotten that coaches and mangers have a life too and sometimes, just sometimes that life is more important than a game. i’m truly lucky to have a group of parents who appreciate both the coach and me…and they express this appreciation often. “Mom” i agree with you-she should try being a manager for just 1 week…i promise you she’d never complain again. real simple this is just stupid and perpetuates the entitled attitude i see way too often. anissa dodick

    April 29, 2014 at 6:03 pm
  12. heygirlhill

    am I the only person that has an issue with the fact that “son” is used instead of “child” ? Oh, wait I forgot sports are not for girls, we might get dirty! (insert eye roll here)

    April 29, 2014 at 6:10 pm
  13. Ellen

    The “grateful” portions of this letter sound very condescending. And why does she refer to all children but her own as “dim-witted”? The whole thing sound out-of-touch, entitled, and passive agressive. RealSimple, why are you publishing this? No one in their right mind would send these sentiments to any coach or team manager.

    April 29, 2014 at 6:24 pm
  14. Glen Jerrard

    Don’t you think this is meant to be funny?

    April 29, 2014 at 6:37 pm
  15. Kendra

    I think it IS meant to be funny. Lighten up, people. Ms. van Ogrop is being CYNICAL. She is a writer of humorous insights into how “some people” (parents) shouldn’t take things so seriously. She is clearly making fun of herself for scheduling things a year in advance (which a lot of us have to do). So, again – lighten up.

    April 29, 2014 at 6:55 pm
  16. Kendra

    *van Ogtrop

    April 29, 2014 at 6:55 pm
  17. ellen

    As the wife of a coach of more than one team, and a busy mom (running a household also qualifies me as a working mom), I have to say, you have no idea what coaches sacrifice in order to coach your child, nor how much time it takes the “team mom” to manage the team. Trust me, no one is happy about last minute changes, cancellations, etc. when it comes to a sport. It does, however, come with the territory and not likely to change any time soon. As stated by many parents previously, it seems like your’re having difficulty handling what is commonplace in team sports. PS yelling at the ref doesn’t pay off. They don’t like it, they never change the call, and it usually ends up hurting your child’s team.

    April 29, 2014 at 9:48 pm
  18. Baseball mom

    Wow, ya’ll are brutal. I don’t think anyone here under appreciates the time and commitment that go into coaching; I certainly don’t. And I clearly think you all have taken this open letter to coaches in a much different light than it was meant to be taken. As a working mom (granted a “back to working mom”), a mother to a son that has played all kinds of competitive sports for the last 6 years and a huge fan of Real Simple and Ms. Kristen (sometimes I only have time to read the editor’s page) I think ya’ll need to get a grip. We’ve all yelled at refs and umps. Sometimes they deserve it, sometimes they don’t, but it certainly comes with the job. We’ve all complained about coaches, probably as much as the coaches complain about parents. But it IS frustrating to EVERYONE when games are cancelled, rescheduled, moved and rained-out. My son had 5 baseball games scheduled for this week between travel, school ball and rec ball; 4 of these have gotten moved, cancelled, rescheduled and rained-out. It’s spring. We live in the south. It’s gonna rain. Comes with the sport, unfortunately. Lighten up folks. If we can’t gripe a little about things none of us have any control over, what’s the point of communicating at all?

    April 29, 2014 at 10:39 pm
  19. Kate

    I didn’t find it funny, either. As a mom of two girls who have been involved in numerous sports, I have encountered too many parents like this. And, they are usually the ones who never volunteer to help with anything. So, no I don’t find humor in attacking coaches, many of whom don’t get paid for the many hours required to ensure kids have the opportunity to play a team sport.

    April 30, 2014 at 12:09 am
  20. Chuck Greene

    I understand the writer’s frustrations, but the open letter comes off as overly entitled and uninformed. A bit like many of our kids.

    April 30, 2014 at 2:44 am
  21. Paulaina

    You have one person to blame for being “over-scheduled”. No one has a gun to your head forcing you to put your kids in 27 different activities. Climb down off your cross, lady.

    April 30, 2014 at 3:29 am
  22. Andrea

    I took this as a total joke and that the writer really understands that coaching is a big time commitment and lots of work for zero pay. By the way, I am a team parent for my child’s team and it is a TON of work and it’s not even close to what the coach is doing. I don’t mind and I am happy to help out but wow, it’s a lot! I’m glad I did it b/c it will remind me to forever keep my yap shut if I am not actively helping out in some way because the people helping are doing way more behind the scenes than any of us think!

    May 1, 2014 at 8:29 am

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