After what I witnessed at football game, coaches, parents should tackle sportsmanship
Recently, I witnessed something I’ve never seen in four generations of youth sports. After a hard fought game, the winning football team produced and waved at its opponents a large, insulting, disrespectful and totally uncalled for banner that started a melee on the field and nasty sniping by some parents on the sidelines.
“Trick or Treat, Smell Your Defeat” should never be seen or heard from any team, much less one that is going to play-offs and, more than likely, championship games. I am appalled by the thought that this act was undoubtedly sanctioned by adults — coaches and parents alike.
There are many wonderful teams in the Southern Maryland Youth Athletic Conference. Whether they have a winning record is irrelevant. What kids learn and how they grow as players and human beings are what matter.
The behavior exhibited by a few teams is unacceptable at any level. Just ask Kirk Cousins, Howie Long, Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Tony Gonzales, JJ Watt or hundreds of other players who over the years have maintained their integrity, self-respect, decency and respect for their opponents — win or lose.
This is football, where someone is going to win and someone is going to lose. It does not mean that the kids didn’t play their hearts out or perform their best. It is a game, played at an age where kids are navigating the “no man’s land” between childhood and young adulthood. What we teach them should be respect for each other.
Yes, we all want to win. Unfortunately in competitive sports, that is not possible. But if our young people play the game properly and with respect for their opponents, they gain skills needed to be winning human beings for the rest of their lives.
I implore the adults involved in these games to stop and think about what we are teaching our kids. I implore SMYAC to take a hard look at the behavior of some coaches and, yes, some of the kids and parents on their teams, and address the negativism and bad behaviors.
And as for that winning team that night — they won a game by four points. But they’ve already lost so much more. And the sad thing is they probably don’t even know it.
Franki Coughlin, Huntingtown