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The Ideology of Sportsmanship

So I finally realized why I need to go to bed earlier. I was up reading Facebook posts and came across one posted by a longtime friend (more like family) Pia that dealt the recent basketball game her son played in at my old high school Maloney High of Meriden, CT. The game ended in Maloney beating their cross town rivals by a score of 101-31. That’s not what fired me up (although it did make me smile). Here’s what pissed me off-a scorned parent wrote a letter to the editor of the local paper regarding that game. I’ll let this guy speak for himself before I systematically break him down. It personifies the problem I have with almost all sports and the parents these days. Anyway, here’s a portion the letter:

“I used to have a lot of respect for Howie Hewitt, the coach of Meriden’s Maloney High School basketball team, but I guess I was wrong-it looks like he has no control of his team. As a coach he should be teaching about sportsmanship; to beat a team by 70 points is a disgrace…Yes, he did use the subs, but did nothing to stop them from scoring; he could have told them not to score and just pass the ball around-there is no shot clock in high school ball…”

There’s more in the letter but you get the gist of his belly aching. Let’s take this in part…or shall I say apart.

Coach Hewitt may not be the most likeable person in the world but his ethics regarding his coaching style or control of his team should not come into question because somebodies baby boy got it handed to them on the court. For some odd reason parents feel that winning by more than 15 points is a sign of showing a lack of “sportsmanship”. The problem isn’t with the winning team or the coach…the problem is with the parents definition of sportsmanship.

Sportsmanship has nothing to do with a score but HOW each team played. I can see if all players were jacking up 3’s and coach put on a full court press and they were taunting the opponent Marshawn Lynch style. It may not have been perfectly handled but it wasn’t to that degree. With that said-I do believe kids celebrate too many routine plays or accomplishments but that really stems from this generation of “everyone gets a medal” parents and leagues…which leads me to this question…what are you teaching these children? “Accept mediocrity because you’ll get the same reward as the kids who work hard”. That’s terrible parenting. Did your kid get beat by 70? Good. Now he should learn to pop in a tape about playing defense, take practice seriously and put down the PS4 controller. Perfect time to learn how to overcome adversity-a true life lesson. Maybe it’ll subdue some of these self-entitlement issues. Otherwise he’s going to grow up and expect everything to be handed to him and blame everyone else for his failure. We already have enough of those people in this world-I’ve coached a few and changed that situation quickly. “Yes, he did use the subs, but did nothing to stop them from scoring…” at that point you should’ve heard yourself, felt extreme shame and tossed the letter. HE PUT IN THE SUBS!! The other teams’ starters were in. It’s THEIR job to stop the slaughter-not coach Hewitt. It’s called “playing defense” for a reason. And I have the feeling you wouldn’t have the same problem if the score was the other way around.

Clairtown High’s (PA.) football team had the same issue. They beat an opponent 86-0. They STOPPED throwing the ball and the other team stacked the box. If Clairtown was stopped on 3rd, they punted. But by the looks of things the other team played matador defense. The parents again started to complain and use phrases like “bullying tactics” and worrying about children’s “mental health”. Parents…let me just say this…that loss means more to you then it does them. They will be hurt in the moment but they’ll laugh about it in college…or maybe after that season. Stop using phrases like “bullying” and “mental health” to push your own agenda. Johnny will be fine-trust me.
The longer we push the ideologies…wait-let me take myself out of that-the longer THOSE PARENTS push the ideologies of “you can’t beat my kid by 70 because it’s bullying” the worse off this generation will be. It really has to stop. And I really have to go to bed earlier.

The Ideology of Sportsmanship was written by Jesse Peel @jpsportsruckus

NFL Draft Diamonds was created to assist the underdogs playing the sport. We call them diamonds in the rough. My name is Damond Talbot, I have worked extremely hard to help hundreds of small school players over the past several years, and will continue my mission. We have several contributors on this site, and if they contribute their name and contact will be in the piece above. You can email me at [email protected]

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