Lack of Sportsmanship

Posted: May 14, 2017 by souldysfunction in General Sports Rant
Tags: , ,

I’ve mentioned a few times before that I have helped coach my boys little league team in the past. This spring season I took a break from it to just watch him and give my wife a break from having to deal with both of us being occupied for all of his practices and games. There have been times in the past were I have been upset with the complete lack of something called sportsmanship from the coaches of teams but today really really took the cake.

Now before I start complaining about what I witnessed I want to dwell a little bit on the whole concept of sportsmanship and little league. Something I was blown away to see when my boy first started playing ‘competitive’ sports was the attitude and stance of coaches and parents when it came to the concept of winning and losing. It seems like a lot of people seem to think that just because their son or daughter is on a field for some sport yelling at them, yelling at the officials, cursing, taunting the other teams players or coaches, or making the kids feel like they are worthless is okay.


These are kids out there, our kids, and our kids friends. Why would you yell at them? Why would you make them more anxious then they already are? Why would you want them to feel like if they fail they are failures? What the hell is wrong with you?

Most parents put their kids in sports to keep them busy and away from getting into trouble elsewhere. When the kid excels at it we keep enrolling them hopefully because they are liking it and not because we did it or didn’t get to do it when we were kids. If those reasons are the case then we are wanting them to be taught something to stay out of trouble and on the ‘wrong side’ of things.

Sports teaches teamwork, it teaches self confidence, it teaches how to over come adversary, how to handle success, it teaches that at the end of the game we are the same and we congratulate each other for doing our best. While we keep track of score during sports it is not on the list of things that we are taught playing sports nor is it the reason we enroll our kids into sports. We don’t look at our 5 year old and say ‘Well I want him/her to know how to keep score because that will make them a winner’. Score means nothing, especially when kids are involved. If you think it does then you really need to relook at yourself.

As a parent and a coach we are trying to teach kids how to play sports. Not just the action of kicking, throwing, hitting, tackling but what it means to be part of a team where we all rely on each other to do our best. That’s what we want as parents for our kids to understand, we want them to see that on a team what you do affects those around you and vise versa. That’s how life works, even if most millennials do not want to admit it. We want them to understand how good it feels to do it right and how to pick themselves up when it goes wrong. Teaching them that those around them can help them celebrate and pick them up when they fall. The actions of sports are taught but how far they develop can be limited by the players ability, build, social status, economic status, ect, ect. However the mental part every single player can learn, understand and excel at. Teaching them that is more important for the rest of their lives then throwing a pitch, kicking a cross, blocking a spin move, or handling a stick. Most of us as adults never get to do any of that in our daily lives but we do get to work as a team nearly every day.

For just a moment think about if you were sitting at your cubical, behind your counter, wearing your headset, swinging a hammer, or any number of things us adults get to do for ‘work’ and someone started yelling at you about how you were doing your work. Yelling about how worthless you were, or how you shouldn’t be doing your work the way you do it. How you aren’t typing fast enough, or being polite enough, that you needed to try harder.

Oh wait we call those ‘hostile work environments’ now don’t we… We quit them or go to HR and get transferred somewhere else. Guess what your kid, my kid and all those other kids can’t go some where to complain about it or get transferred to another nicer team. On top of that the kids are learning from us how to be adults so if we are yelling all the time about how they need to do everything better and right now that’s exactly what they are going to do to their teammates, little brothers and sisters, and eventually their own kids.

Next time you are watching you son or daughter play remember that, remember that not only are they learning about the sport but they are learning how you want them to act as adults.

Okay back to today… Since I am not coaching I decided I would sit down the line past the dug out and watch. Just me watching the game, while the other parents are trying to small chat each other and see who can pound their chests more because their kids did this and that. Just watching the boys play a game that I love, and hopefully they love too. My boys team is on the field and the other teams player gets walked on 4 pitches. No big deal it happens, these kids are 11 and 12 still learning how to pitch it is going to happen. I watch the kid jog up the line to first base while our pitcher gets the ball back and drops his head because he just walked a guy and the coach is already yelling at him to fix his mechanics. Suddenly I see the Coach of the other team who is the third base coach wave to the player that just got walked. Instantly the player studder steps and takes off for second base. Now the our pitcher is still looking dejected while multiple parents and coaches are telling him that he shouldn’t do that again and he needs to throw strikes. The other players on our team are kind of preparing for the next batter and not really looking at this kid who suddenly has done something that NOT EVEN MAJOR LEAGUE PLAYERS DO. The coaches start yelling to throw the ball the kids on the field look completely lost because this isn’t supposed to happen and the pitcher throws a bad throw to second base that ends up in center field and the other teams player ends up all the way to third before some assembly of calm is regained by our team.

Before you say anything I want you to understand something. In a MLB game when a guy is walked and it wasn’t intentional, meaning the Coach told him to, the pitcher is not happy with themselves. When they catch the ball back from the catcher they are normally muttering to themselves or worst. The MLB player that gets walked jogs up to first base and stands there until the pitcher gets back to the mound to start preparing for the next pitch. This is called sportsmanship. The batter who was just walked knows that the pitcher did not want to walk him and just the fact that he is now at first is a big enough blow to the pitchers ego all by itself. It doesn’t need to be rubbed in, the pitcher doesn’t need to be kicked while he is down, they both understand that if the pitcher was being effective the batter wouldn’t be on first. The batter knows that if he wants to steal second base he can but he will wait until the next pitch because he does NOT need to show up the pitcher any further.

Saying that we now look back at the situation I mentioned above. These are not MLB players that are payed lots of money to play this game. These are not adults that are trying to play this game because of the money or fame they can make.


Should we be teaching them at 11 or 12 that they need to show up the other team? Or that winning at all costs is the only thing that matters? That having no dignity in how you win is okay? What were we trying to teach our kids again by enrolling them in sports? Oh yeah how to be a good team player and how to treat others.

I’m sure there are some of you that see absolutely no problem with what the coach told the player to do. I’m sure you are also the same people that couldn’t give a shit less about the person in the car next to you, or the people around you as you scream on your phone in public.

If you don’t want your kid to be taught how to be a good sport then don’t enroll them in sports. If you think its okay to not be a good sport to kids don’t coach sports. It’s pretty freaking simple. If you are out there to win or to pad your own ego, get the hell off the field.

These are our kids, and those of us that want to teach them how to be good sports and how to win with grace and never loose hope when they lose don’t need you or your kids on our field.

I can’t express how utterly disappointed I was at so many instances like this that happened just in this one game. It made me sad as a parent and deeply offended as a coach that stuff like this could not only go on but not be called out. Watching both sides do or say things that just made me sick feeling because of what it was teaching these kids about how society works. I can only teach my kids and those that I get to coach, I can only pass on so much, and then to watch others just tear apart what we try to do as a coach and parent…

Makes me feel sick…

Please take a moment next time your son or daughter is on a field, lift them up. Tell them how good they are doing and how if they do their best that is all we could ever ask for. Tell them if they make a mistake how to fix it and they will get it next time. Make them feel like they can do it. Thank those coaches that do the same. Make your kid end the game with a smile no matter what the score.

SD Signature


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