Wednesday, July 22, 2015

A Word About Sportsmanship

I just saw on the Newtown Bee's Facebook page a preview of an upcoming piece to appear in this week's paper.  It's about an incident that recently took place in the Babe Ruth baseball league.  The Babe Ruth baseball league consists of 12 and 13 year old boys.  It is a travel league and it is considered to be made up of premiere players.

Basically what happened was the Newtown team was playing a Norwalk team.  The Norwalk pitcher was struggling and he unintentionally hit a couple of Newtown batters.  Pretty much everyone agrees it was in fact unintentional but the Newtown players sitting on the bench became very verbally abusive with a number of extremely inappropriate remarks having been made.  The Newtown coach apparently made no effort to correct his team's poor behavior.

An investigation was conducted, apologies to the Norwalk players and coaches were issued and I believe at least one of the Newtown coaches was either reprimanded or dismissed or both.  I'm not clear on that detail.

The point here is the unfortunate behavior of the Newtown players.  If they didn't learn common manners from their parents, then at the very least where were the coaches?  By not immediately correcting the situation, they gave their tacit approval of their actions.  Not a good situation.  What's worse is I seem to hear more and more about such incidents, locally and throughout the nation.

I am happy to report that when watching my grand children's games (baseball and soccer for ages 6 through 11 or 12) I have never witnessed such behavior.  Their coaches have been excellent in that they realize that sportsmanship is more important than anything else.  

Where it seems to break down is when the kids get a little older.  That's very unfortunate.  Very often I blame the coaches.  A coach has to know much more than the skills involved in his/her particular sport.  He/she must also be an effective leader of children.  The two things go hand in hand.  One is not enough without the other.  But the other side of it is, where are the parents?  Why aren't they appalled at such unacceptable behavior?  Is winning that important to them?  I think that's sad.

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