I coach a swim team. I've had this same team for 17 years now. I have watched all of them grow up and have been a fixture in this neighborhood for a long, long time. I love the kids and the neighborhood. It's like a throw back to Leave it to Beaver over there. They all watch out for each other and each other's kids. Most of them are great people. We are not a team focused primarily on winning. My goal is to teach the kids to swim well and to love swimming. We are laid back and fun. I don't scream at the children. I don't beret the children. I encourage them to do their best certainly and we do practice hard and swim hard at the meets. We win some and we lose some. That is how it works. I would rather the kids love swimming and be good sports than win at all costs. Rewards (mainly the chance to swim in relays since they all love them) are passed out to those that have been working hard in practice and those that have a good attitude, not necessarily the fastest kids. I realize that this is contrary to winning, but I don't feel that winning is what our team is about. Building strong kids is what we are about. We had a meet yesterday. Our league is all parent run, so the officiating is all parents from both teams. Most of these parents were not competitive swimmers. They are doing this so their kids can have a good experience and have a swim league. My theory is that we have to cut them some slack. They are all volunteers and they are doing the best they can. Sometimes they make iffy decisions. It just happens. If the decision is not blatantly wrong, I am a firm believer in accepting the judges' and referee's decisions. If we start contesting them because we just don't like them, the whole deal descends into chaos. There was a call made yesterday against one of my really great swimmers. The judge said she did not touch the wall before doing her turn. Eh. It can happen. The mother of the child threw a huge fit and asked me to contest it. I thought they had DQed her because of her turn and so I went and talked to the ref. The ref explained about the call being on the touch and we discussed it nicely. When I asked the ref if she trusted the stroke judge, she emphatically said yes. Okay. I did not see the turn. The ref did not see the turn. The irate parent did not see the turn. We were all at the other end of the pool. My decision was that we had to trust the judgement as it was made since NONE OF US HAD SEEN IT. The ref and I were satisfied with the decision. The decision did not change the outcome of the meet. All it did was take a win from one child who was most definitely careless with her turn (and in fact was doing a fancy turn that I had already warned the team about using in summer leagues since it deviates from the norm). This is a child who has won first place in every single event she has swum this summer. She will do really well in the next meet as well. I felt it was more important to be good sports about it than it was to argue an iffy call. Her mother is furious with me. So I have spent the last 30 hours "discussing" the decision with this parent through email. The irate parent sent a parent to the league contesting the call. I followed that up with an email to the league stating that the referee and I had already resolved the issue and it was settled. She then has laid into me. Seriously? I made the decision that was best for the team. This lady has no more idea than I do about that touch. She was 25 yards away! The emails have gotten progressively cranky and continue to come, despite her saying that she was done discussing it. I wish. Sheesh. She is the only parent on the team that argues with me. She thinks I am not competitive enough and alternates between putting this kid on my team and on another. Truthfully, my life is easier when the kid is elsewhere. The sad thing is that this woman babies this daughter and completely ignores the other older child (an equally talented swimmer). Okay... I'm done ranting now. I just hate parents that have to be all up in the middle of stuff that is none of their business. The call was made. The coach and referee agree. At this point you deal with it. You do not make our team look bad by badmouthing another team to the league. You take this opportunity to have a learning moment with your child about being more careful and about learning to deal with disappointment. Sometimes life isn't fair. Instead she has once again reiterated to the kid that people are out to get her. The truth is that while her kid has a great deal of natural talent, she is lazy and cuts corners. I completely believe that she could have missed the wall in her haste. Arg.