Over the past fortnight I have accompanied 6 successful school basketball teams to various representative knock out carnivals. Five of the teams were ultimately unsuccessful in making the State level round yet I could not have been prouder of them in the way they “gave it a go” in the right spirit.
On the last day I saw two things that had opposite effects on me.
The first was one of our year 6 students who was coaching a younger team who won all day but ultimately was overrun and lost in the grand final. He used his own initiative and got the younger students together who were obviously upset and reminded them of the many great things they had done all day to make the final – the younger students looked up to him I think out of respect for his genuine comments and within a few minutes had moved on. It made me feel very proud to be his principal, which I expressed to him.
The second involved a parent who was coaching a side of 10-year-old girls and apparently after repeated warnings all day was asked to leave the stadium by the referee in the middle of the grand final. It was an ugly sight to say the least – he refused to leave – even after a sideline heated exchange with the tournament organiser. The game wasn’t called off – the final completed – his girls lost and he went over to commiserate with them. Needless to say the ugly parent (coach) syndrome came to mind and I went over to support the tournament organiser.
The school will probably never be informed of the incident as there was no teacher present.
I’m writing this to probably share both my delight and my disgust and wonder how a 12-year-old boy gets it and a 40 year man doesn’t.
I have had lots of experiences over the years as a coach and team manager of junior sports (as a teacher, principal, parent, volunteer) in a variety of sports (mainly basketball and football) and have seen some sights where adults and I must say mainly parents do the wrong thing (in negatively supporting their own or in criticism of the other team or umpire) and it never leaves me with a good taste in my mouth.
The sport and those girls and surrounding youth spectators lost something that day.