Dear High School Lacrosse Coach,
I just saw online that you recently had your first baby girl. Congratulations. I hope you're both healthy and stay that way.
However, I also hope that your daughter is a fat teenager.
I hope her classmates make her feel bad about herself no matter what she wears, and that everyone in her life constantly insinuate she should "do something" about her body. And I hope that despite this, she is smart, and strong-willed, and brave, and that she joins a team sport in high school, even though she knows she's not athletic and will probably start out sucking at any sport before eventually getting good at it.
I hope she has a coach just like you.
I hope she has to go from barely being able to run 1 mile to being forced to run 2 miles after school 5 days a week, and her shins always hurt and her lungs feel like they're going to explode. I hope she has no time for homework because she spends her non-school daylight hours running drills with her new teammates and being yelled at for dropping balls and for letting her fat ass fall behind everyone else. And I hope she keeps going anyway, day after day, for 2 school years.
I hope that her school performance suffers as a result of her extracurricular demands from the team, and whenever she stays after school for tutoring, she misses practice and gets punished by running more laps when she goes back.
I hope that the coach never puts her in a single game. Not one, in 2 years. But that she keeps going to all of the games in uniform anyway, and stands next to the coach hopefully watching on the sidelines, and that every time one of her teammates is pulled out, the coach physically moves their head all around your daughter's fat head, trying to find a viable player to send out in her place. I hope that even when the team is losing the 9th game in a row, by more than 12 points, the coach still doesn't feel the need to let your daughter play.
I hope you have to see her come home from school and practice every night, sore, dirty, and red-faced, and ready to burst into tears at your slightest criticism because she's already been put through the physical and emotional ringer before you even get to talk to her each day. I hope you have to hear her, your only daughter, your most beloved person in the world, refer to herself as a "fat, worthless sack of crap." I hope you spend every night building her self-esteem back up to teenage-average and talk her into going to school every morning when she tries to pretend to be sick.
I hope one day she finally works up the nerve to confront her coach, and stays late after practice to ask, in private, why she is never allowed to play. And I hope the coach tells her that she is making a fool of herself out there, and advises her to "find something that she's good at." And admits that the athletics department isn't allowing them to cut anyone from the team, so the only choice is to keep people on the team that "probably shouldn't be there," and wait for those people to quit. Hint. Hint.
And then I hope your daughter finally does quit. I hope she doesn't get the deposit back for her uniform and equipment. And that her coach tells everyone else on the team that she quit (not that she was asked to quit), and that her former teammates, who are also her classmates, start ignoring her in the halls and refer to her as "Quitter."
Finally, I hope that this early experiment with leaving her comfort zone prevents her, for years, from trying other sports, or anything that she might be bad at in the beginning, out of fear that she will once again be humiliated and shunned. And that you have to witness all of this, and that you know without a doubt that the coach has done something very damaging to your little girl who might have accomplished anything if she could just believe in herself and in the value of courage and hard work.
And then I hope you remember me.