Volunteering For Basketball Practice

Let me start by saying I’m all about getting paid for doing a job.  Whether you are a bricklayer or a courier or whatever it is that you do, you should get paid to do your 9 to 5.  Or whatever your hours may be.  If your boss says you are to work 6 days a week for 8 hours a day, then that is the job you’ve signed up for and you should get paid for them.

However, when it comes to volunteering, as soon as you agree to help, you can’t back up and say “Hey wait a minute I need to get paid.”

It doesn’t work that way.

Especially when it comes to kids.

If you are a basketball coach and you volunteer to help teach the sport to elementary age kids on Saturday, your off day, you go into that day knowing you aren’t going to get paid.

There’s something about saying, “Yes I know I’m not getting paid but I’m doing it so that these children can learn the game and appreciate the game.”

Maybe it’s because I grew up in Tennessee, the Volunteer State, that I appreciate volunteerism so much.  That’s a sad joke.  However, I have a real big problem with this.

Let’s go back to the beginning.  Let’s say, Coach Smith is the head of the high school boys’ basketball team and the local town comes to him asking for help at the start of the school year.

“Coach Smith we want to have elementary basketball on Saturday mornings in December through February.  Would you be willing to volunteer your time?”

Coach Smith decides that he is going to get his team to come in and help him – therefore this is considered a practice and he is getting paid for his time by the school.

Halfway through December Coach Smith decides that he wants to get paid by the town because volunteering his time is just not good enough – even though he’s getting paid by the school.

I’ve got a huge problem with that.

As a parent who volunteered for three months for six straight years to coach and ref soccer I’m disgusted by this attitude.  Not only did I have to work but I also tried to live a life outside of my commitments as well.  I didn’t ask the soccer organization for money to coach or ref.

I wanted those children to care about the game, I wanted those children to know the rules, I wanted those children to be proud of themselves and I wanted to do it because I could.

I know you might be thinking, “that sounds like you are trying to sound holy.”

It’s simply not the case.

Volunteering to help the soccer organization was the only way for me to give back my knowledge of the game.  It was the only way for me to try and further the sport.  There’s not a lot of opportunities for children to be taught by someone who has studied the rules and I want them to understand as much as I can teach them.

I’ve been saying for a while that people continue to do things for the benefit of themselves.  Whether that is in the form of money or recognition or some gift that they can receive.  I’m tired of the nonsense.  I hate how we’ve become as a culture and a society.  I want the children I’ve taught to be willing to help others because they have seen me do it out of care for other individuals.

To me that’s what it is all about: caring for others.  I am afraid we aren’t taking care of others the way we should.  There’s too much fighting and looking out for one’s self only.  I thought that we had come a long way as humans but the more I look around the more I wonder about us.  The more I wonder about our motives.  I see people that try to do for others get put down while those that are out for themselves climb over them.

This isn’t a zoo and we aren’t in the wild.  We are civilized creatures and it’s time to act like it.  I’m sick and tired of the drama and the petty bullshit.  If you can’t be bothered to help others, then you need to re-examine your priorities.  The only way we are going to go forward is together, no one is bigger or better than the other and some need more help than others and that’s why we have to be there for one another.

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