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For Hmielewski, for anyone, a tough balancing act

May 14, 2009 - Per Peterson
The Marshall girls basketball team is once again looking for a new head coach following the yet-to-be-made-official resignation of Mary Jo Hmielewski. Hmielewski, who coached the Tigers for just two years, had a rough season last year, but cited family reasons for her decision to resign. She also spoke Wednesday about how demanding it is being a head coach, how it “got to be too much.” My gut tells me last season’s struggles had something to do with her stepping down. My gut also tells me the former Tracy-Milroy star knew it was going to be demanding coming in. Her extensive basketball background, including playing college basketball at the highest level and coaching at the varsity level at Redwood Valley before coming to Marshall, told her as much. She had to know. But from a parent's perspective, I don’t blame her. It’s difficult enough these days to find the time to be with your kids when they want/need you to be somewhere with them, and that, she says, is what she’s looking for — more time with her family. To me, self-inflicted pressure to spend time with your kids trumps pressure to win basketball games any day. It's not like she's the first coach to give up one thing so she could do another. Like Hmielewski, I have three kids at home. Like Hmielewski, I spend a lot of time away from them because of work, and it gets to me. And, like Hmielewski, I work hard to find that balance between parenting and performing at your job at a high level. You get to a point where you feel guilty because you’re not always there for your kids when you know you should be. I’m not saying Hmielewski had that guilty feeling, but I think most parents will tell you, yeah, when you miss out on things your kids do, it does start to wear on your conscience. Good coaches make sacrifices for their team. Good parents make sacrifices for their kids. At least now Hmielewski doesn’t have to choose between the two. That's all.


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