This is my daughter's first season playing basketball. They haven't won a game, which has been hard on her little team. However, they've stuck with it and played their hearts out each Saturday. A few weeks ago, they played a team and lost. I left the game angry and annoyed, not at the score, but at the other team's coach. The coach for the other team left one player in the ENTIRE game and let her score and score and score. At half-time, that one player had 20 points. Our team had scored 4 points.
The score wasn't the issue. The issue was the coach and how she refused to take out her star player. She would rotate some of the other team members, but let that one player stay in and rack up points. When this player was called for a foul, she would argue with the referee. When the ball would go out on her, she would say rude things to our team. She could shoot the ball, but her attitude and sportsmanship were in the toilet.
After the game was over, my daughter said, "I'm glad I don't play on that other team - even though they won. Their coach didn't let everyone play like our coach does."
To the coaches and parents on and off the sidelines, fields, and courts: winning isn't everything.
Sports provide an outlet for many children and when they don't respect the coach or the referee, it undermines everything. Learning to play as team and work together is an important life skill that children must have to be successful adults.
As parents, we need to stop taking youth sports so seriously and bring back the fun. We need to encourage our children to try different sports and deal with failure and disappointment. We need to stop interfering and help our children develop a strong work ethic and receive positive correction. We need to enjoy this sweet time and not worry about the outcome and the scores.
For the coaches reading this, give every player a shot. Continue to teach and coach and encourage them to become a better player each game. Letting the star take every shot and play every minute is the easy way out. The most important part of being a coach isn't winning... it's developing each player's skills, attitude and character. Rotate the players; these little ones aren't playing for a national championship.