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Where I share a guest post about sportsmanship

by John on February 26th, 2013

I don’t get too many guest posts around here1 — but that’s, mostly, because none of y’all send me stuff to post here. So, when I checked my email today and saw that Shoe Mom (who has no blog of her own, but wanted an outlet for this story) had a story to share, well, imagine my excitement. Without further ado, here’s Kim:

Thank you for allowing me to guest post – I don’t blog, but I have a number of friends who are bloggers… and I read a lot of blogs. This is a story that needed a blog home.

I cried at a Junior Mini Basketball Jamboree game, today. You probably already guessed that I’m going to tell you why.

I am a single mom, to a 9 year old son. He plays basketball. He’s not a very strong player, but he has heart. He doesn’t get the most baskets, but he is a team player who passes the ball and has fun on a team of 8-10 year old boys. They aren’t the best team. In fact, they finished the year at the bottom of their division. But they practise, play together, and both the individual players and the team have steadily improved this season.

This weekend was the final basketball tournament of the season. We were playing our final game of the year, and it was evident that, in this game at least, we were the stronger team.

There was a small player on the other team – considerably smaller than all the other kids, on both teams. I would even go so far as to guess that there may be a medical reason for his height, although that is truly just a guess. He tried hard, but he rarely got the ball. But what I’m going to describe next? Well, it had me in tears this afternoon and has a lump in my throat, now.

I learned afterward, our coach “suggested” to our boys to let him get a basket. What happened was an amazing thing. All of a sudden, there was one team on that court, not two – our team passed the ball to the opposing team, and one of them would set this boy up to score. Red jersey or orange jersey – it didn’t matter. These kids had a single goal.

He got the ball, took a shot, and missed. And the kids set it up, again – another shot, another miss. Soon the parents realised what was happening, as both teams set him up, again. Eight times he took a shot and seven of those times, a miss.

And then he got the ball, again and took the shot. Mercifully the ball found the net! Both benches of parents cheered and yelled and clapped. And the game went back to being the red jerseys vs. the orange.

But you should have seen that boy’s face. If he had sunk the winning shot in an NBA final, he couldn’t have been more excited! The other coach came over and shook our coach’s hand; ultimately and firstly, they are both dads.

Who won the game? Well, I could tell you who got more baskets – but who won the game? The kids on two teams who learned the meaning of sportsmanship and teamwork today. The kids on two teams who realised that the game is not ONLY offense and defense. The kids on two teams who had fun, today. And the kids on our team – who up until today had never met or even seen this boy, but whom they treated like a teammate and a friend.

And that is why I cried at a Junior Mini Basketball Jamboree game, today.

1 Seriously, if you’re reading this & want an outlet, I’m happy to host, provided you’re writing about anything I can tie-back to this blog: parenting, food, working out, the writing process, boobs, beer, the awesomeness of cheeseburgers . . .
  1. I shared a video this morning that this post reminds me of – seems sportsmanship is the theme of my day.

    Here’s the video – grab kleenex – it’s a doozy.

  2. I love this story.

    Sadly, the adults in our area are mostly so competitive I can’t even imagine them cheering under these circumstances…they want to score at all costs, and if it’s THEIR kid being the big shot, all the better.

    It’s why my kids stopped team sports by the time they were 11 because it wasn’t about fun and sportsmanship and fitness and leadership and teamwork and all the good stuff it should have been about.

    It was about the win, period.

    Thanks so much for writing this story Kim – and for sharing it here in your space, John.

    Let’s keep the message going strong – that kindness and generosity are the most important victories our children can achieve.

    • It’s funny – I’m both eagerly awaiting & dreading the start of team sports for my kids — I look at the way CJ watches the older kids playing basketball & I see that he wants to be doing just that. But I really want him to feel like part of a team, and see how “playing together” builds trust & friendship and makes everything fun.

      But, at the same time, I worry about how much both kids fight for it to be “their turn” when picking television shows, and I wonder if that’s the only way they can “win” right now. So, we’ll see what the future holds.

  3. My children aren’t there yet… they are all about the winning, whatever they perceive that to be. But I’ve already heard all about the competitive nature of the parents AND children in our district.
    I PRAY I raise children and get to participate with teams that change that reputation.

    Also, I stood up and cheered too. Thank you for sharing this… it was needed.

    • I worry about my kids being only concerned about winning, but I’m far more worried about dealing with the parents who want their kids winning . . . so we share that. I really, really don’t know how I’ll deal with coaching little league if I have a kid whose dad is constantly yelling at his kid to do better (when I worked as a little league umpire in high school, I once had to kick a father out of a game – that was kind of cool)

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