This is blog two in a series of three. Read blog one here. Read blog three here.
My family recently experienced tremendous upheaval. Thankfully no one died and no one was injured. However, it threw us into an ugly and nasty place.
My husband was fired. He was the head coach of the Plymouth North Boys Lacrosse team. Parents trusted him with their sons and he let them down. One parent complained about a remark that he made in front of the players and he was fired.
Did he make a crude and vulgar remark on the practice field. Yes. He admitted it. To everyone and anyone that has asked. He has stood up and said he did. What he said was not racist. It was not sexist. It did not incite violence. It was not bullying. It was not aimed at, or directed toward, a player or another person. It was an crude remark and he should never have said it.
We have nothing to hide and we have offered to tell anyone over the age of 18 what, exactly, he said. Several people have actually said no, it didn’t matter because they know him and trust him. Others we’ve told. Almost to a person they told him it was crude and offensive. They also told him they don’t believe he should have been fired for it.
Pat has also defended the school. He has told players and parents that he put himself in the position to be fired. Ms. McSweeney has a difficult job. One I wouldn’t want. Do we think she handed out an overly harsh punishment? Yes. But had he not made the remark he would not have lost his job. Period. End of story. The ultimate responsiblity lies with Pat, it always has and we’ve always said that.
By now, you’re saying to yourselves “It’s her husband, of course she’s defending him!” Let me be clear: had the email accusation been correct, I’d have opened the can of whoop ass myself. In fact, I would be leading the charge to have him not only dismissed as head coach but also as my husband. See, in the anonymous email it said that while in a huddle he told his players about private acts that we perform. That’s right. In the privacy of our bedroom. Want to know how I know that’s a lie? Pat would never do that – ever. He has too much respect for me as a person, a woman, and his wife. The mother of his children. Oh, and his 15-year-old son was there. MY son.
Our lives have been turmoil. Phones ringing, buzzing, and jittering day and night. People stopping by the house. The outpouring of support for him personally and upset at his firing has been overwhelming. I knew Pat made a difference in his players’ lives but until this happened I had no idea how much they loved and respected him.
We’ve finally had a chance to catch our breath. I’m sorting out the lessons here. The kids, especially my son, are hurt and confused. Pat and I have to pull it together and heal our family. How do we want to frame this? How we handle it, will have a deep and lasting impact on them both. All of us really.
Talking to the kids about it, I’ve been impressed with how maturely they have both handled it. We were open and honest about what he said and the context in which it was said. They understand that their Dad had a lapse in judgment and he has paid an extremely high price for that lapse. They have learned that our family has an enormous group of friends and supporters in Plymouth and we can never truly express how much every phone call, email, text, or facebook message has meant to us. Truly we are humbled.
We, as a family, will be learning from this event for a long time. Some of the initial lessons we have discussed with the kids are: taking responsibility for your actions; that actions have consequences; that your reputation can see you through difficult times so be careful what you put out in the world.
My mantra over the last few days has been: Bad things happen. They can make you bitter or they can make you better.
I choose better. Every single time.