Thursday, February 9, 2012

Lessons From Kids' Sports

Zac Crain, in FrontBurner, relates a lesson from his experience coaching his young son's basketball team. Crain's story involves poor sportsmanship on the part of parents of the opposing team. His point is muddled somewhat by Crain revealing that his own son was ejected from the game for committing a flagrant intentional foul, but, hey, Crain's point comes through anyway: "Sports Parents Need to CHILL."

After the jump, my own lessons.

I learned just how deeply the competitive spirit lives in the human heart. I used to coach my son's soccer team. They probably lost more often than they won. After one win, the kids were putting down the other team and I said something like, "Beating someone is not as important as feeling good because you tried your best, win or lose, and you had fun playing." One of the kids yelled out, "And we had more fun than they did, too."

In another game, my son was involved in a play on the other sideline. The ball went out of bounds and the referee awarded it to the other team. I couldn't hear what was going on, but my son was having words with the ref. At the next timeout, my son came over to our sideline, obviously distraught, complaining that the other player kicked the ball out of bounds but the ref wouldn't listen to him. That's the day he learned that the ref isn't always correct, but he gets his way no matter what. Life isn't always fair.

I'm reminded of a (probably apocryphal) story of a youth soccer game in which the parents were getting on the ref, complaining about his calls. Finally, the ref stopped the game, walked over to the sideline, climbed the bleachers, sat down, and said, "You're right. You can see the game so much better from here."

Finally, did I say the games were held at the soccer fields at Breckinridge Park? That's when I learned how great the City of Richardson's parks program is.

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