Our club director had no problem entering her into the system for our region, but then when she tried to register her for the national qualifier, it rejected her, because of her birthday. It turns out that her birthday is August 2, and you must be born on or after September 1 to play on a 17's team. Nevermind the bullshit that the J.O. season is long since over by then.
So I had to tell this girl, who absolutely loves the team, loves the game, and has a long standing relationship with me as her coach, that she couldn't play for us. It was the single worst thing I've ever had to do in six years of coaching. The moment I got it out she was hysterically crying. It was a total melt down.
The team wasn't happy about it either. It changed everything faster than it had changed when the other girl left. I never, ever want to be put in a position like that again where I'll have to hurt a kid like that. It was horrible. I wouldn't wish this on any kid I've ever coached, but especially not this kid.
I can't stop replaying her reaction in my head over and over again. It tears at my soul. Even more difficult, I have to try and carry on and keep the team moving forward and focused.
I know that time will help this, but it absolutely sucks right now. I guess we'll carry on with the eight girls, with my "ninth" as an unofficial assistant, friend to the team and sometimes cheerleader. It's not the role she should have, and it's not what she deserves, but I don't foresee USA Volleyball making an exception.