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Brooke and The Yelling Coach

Brooke was eight-years-old the first time a coach yelled at her.

She missed the base while rounding third, scored what she thought would be the tying run for the 10u State Championship, only to have the umpire call her out on an appeal.

Roger Thornton was always more of a dad than a coach. His daughter Paisley pitched. He wanted her to be the star pitcher – so, he volunteered for the job.

Roger saw Brooke miss the bag but hoped like hell that everyone else didn’t. When the umpire made the call, ending the game in favor of the other team, Roger spun on his heels and threw his hands to the heavens.

Then, as he marched toward Brooke, who stood with slumped shoulders near the plate. Roger started barking, “You missed the bag, Brooke. All you had to do was step on the damn base! Good Lord, how could you be so…” Roger Thornton stabbed at the air with a finger and said, “You let everyone down – nobody lost this game for us but you.”

He made such a show with his voice, everyone in the park knew how he felt about the mishap. Sadly, many of the parents on the team shared his anger and expressed as much while huddled together in tight circles, as they consoled their crying daughters.

For Brooke, her parents didn’t make the game. Her older sister had brought her and spent the first six innings plugged into her phone on the shady side of the concession stand. As luck would have it, she did catch Brooke’s base-running mistake - a point she reminded her kid sister about the entire way home.

Back at home, Brooke’s sister burst into the house, laughing and announcing to her parents, “Guess who lost the game for the team? If she doesn't miss the bag, her team would've won!”

Brooke’s father didn’t say a word, but the disgusted look on his face and the way he shook his head told Brooke all she needed to know about how he felt.

Brooke’s mother asked, “How could you? Did you really miss the base? Your poor teammates must be devastated.”

The sister chimed in, “Oh yeah, I saw it. She missed it by a mile. It’s like she didn’t even see it. And yeah, pretty much everyone hates her.”

Brooke sunk lower and dragged herself to her bedroom, closed the door behind, and cried with shame.