Af­ter what I wit­nessed at foot­ball game, coaches, par­ents should tackle sports­man­ship

The Calvert Recorder - - Community Forum -

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

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