Sunday, May 11, 2014

Insight - Teaching good sportsmanship - By Kelly Mank

Spring sports have started and the weather is getting nicer, thank goodness. My son, Keith, plays lacrosse and I love going to his games. Coming off hockey season (not that I don’t love the cold rink or the 6 a.m. games) the fresh air, birds flying above, smell of the grass, and light breeze is absolutely fantastic. As most people know lacrosse can be a pretty rugged sport and tensions can get high… just as in any sport. I personally felt that our team was playing well, seemed to be slightly more aggressive than normal and there was some unsportsmanlike conduct that I wasn’t used to seeing, however, overall the game was going well. 
Late into the game, tensions were getting higher and you could see the penalties were starting to show more and the parents were starting to get louder. Now, not to say it wasn’t the fault of the players and that sportsmanship was at an all-time high at this point, but the parents of the other team and the things that were being said, not only our kids but to our parents just astonished me.  As I sat there quietly and at points actually had to giggle about how immature some parents were I was thinking what in the world do these kids go home to.  

As parents it is hard for us to remember sometimes that they are kids. Whether it is school, rec, or a premier league, we need to promote positive reinforcement and good sportsmanship. If they don’t learn it now… when will they?  Our kids need to learn that no matter what happens taking the higher road, although not always easier, is the better decision. Sportsmanship will stay with kids forever. Let’s pretend for a moment that our child is that .001 percent that will make it to the big league. Look at what happens to major league players who don’t respect the rules or have bad attitudes. Not only do they ruin their careers, they do it publicly, ruining their lives. Sportsmanship goes so far outside athletic sports into their furthered education, careers, and how they treat people as adults and raise their own children.  These kids in today’s world need to be taught what it means to make the good decision and to have the right attitude. On the ride home we discussed what happened. My son does understand (and knows why) that if he ever disrespects an adult like some of these kids were doing during the game that it won’t have to be the referee or the coach that pulls him off the field… his mother will take care of that immediately.  Let’s promote the right attitude in our kids before they learn they are unteachable from their parents.

-         Kelly Mank, publisher

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