I recently attended my daughter’s “Biddy Buddy” basketball game and was astonished with the opposing teams’ sportsmanship, or to be blunt, lack of sportsmanship.
My daughter plays on a team that is primarily fourth and fifth graders. She was fortunate to have a kind and patient coach, who is highly skilled in his sport. The team was a combination of all skill levels, even children who had never played before. I saw a transformation within our team, not just by skill, but also by sportsmanship among the players.
The children, who were higher skilled, encourage the other teammates. The team was undefeated all season. This was accomplished by “all” the children playing as a “team.”
Recently, these children were robbed of their accomplishments and spirit, not by losing the championship, but by the ignorance of adults.
Can you imagine being a young child playing the championship game, with people hollering at you and making obnoxiously loud noise so you won’t make a basket? These kids are there to have fun and have their confidence elevated, not smashed. I watched seven weeks of confidence building fall down in the matter of 50 minutes.
On the other hand, I would like to commend our team’s parents who did not retaliate.
Not only did those parents yell at our children, but they also yelled at the referees, who volunteer their time.
The same parents heckled the referee when they felt a bad call had been made. It took all my will to keep in my seat when a referee did not grant one of our children a 3-pointer because his toe was over the line. That point would have tied the game. Imagine how that child felt? Yet I continued to wait for awards to be handed out and then approached the coach and referee. Did I yell and scream? No, I showed sportsmanship.
I would like to remind the parents it is not about “us,” it is about our children. We all have our slip of the tongues occasionally, but take the effort to control it. Our children’s futures are worth it.
Children learn from us and how we respond to situations. Positive words make a child grow, while negative words stunt their growth.
For those parents of the opposing team who had to sit through the embarrassment of those who displayed a lack of sportsmanship, I feel for you.