Good grief, yet another excuse as to why I don't post as often as I should. Let's see what should I say this time.......I know, I've been so busy responding to other people's blogs that I haven't had time to write any of my own. And it's actually a true statement. I think responding and commenting on other people's blogs is quite a bit more entertaining than trying to come up with something that anyone out there in cyberspace considers worthy reading material. Try it sometime by commenting on one of my worthless pieces of drivel. Especially if you've yet to take the plunge and create your own blog you can post comments on my anonymously so I won't even have the pleasure of knowing who are.
But I digress, if you've read any of my other posts you know this is one of my shortcomings. I start off on one topic which leads to another and another and goodness, there I go again. Back to topic. My daughter's volleyball season has just gotten over and my son's basketball season has just started and I felt driven to post something on sportsmanship.
I absolutely love watching team sports. The reason I love watching is because I am notoriously inept at any kind of athletic activity. I have been since 3rd grade. I have experienced the humiliation of being among the last children picked to be on someones team. I have experienced the stress of having every kickball, every baseball, softball, and volleyball sent my direction by the opposing team because they knew there was a better than even (actually much better) chance I was going to screw things up. It's a great thing, actually I would say a great God-given thing that I discovered a talent in music or I probably would have been developing all sorts of inferiority issues before the 7th grade. But I'll save that for a future blog.
I do love to watch sporting events of most any type. I've been to my brother's and sister's soccer and hockey games, and now have the pleasure of watching my son and daughter try their skills at various activities. I've seen good and not-so-good players, coaches, and referees, but the group I need to pick on continues to be the parents. Please don't misunderstand, most parents are great! They cheer on their kids, their team, they even go so far as to appreciate when the opposing team has made a good play. But it is the small handful of shall we say, "over exuberant" parents that really ruin the game for all spectators within ear shot.
Thankfully I've never had to witness any violence like that which has been reported in other states, but I've had to listen to more than my fair share of verbal abuse, not directed at me, necessarily, but having to listen to it directed at others is abuse in my book as well. I've listened to parents yell at coaches, referees, and what hurts the most is listening to them put down their own kids as well as the children of others.
First, please remember these are children, not paid professionals, the whole point of grade school sporting activities is to learn the skills, improve their skills, and HAVE FUN! Being shouted at by the "armchair" quarterbacks in the stands is not my idea of having fun. It's always frustrating when your team is not doing well, but there is absolutely no excuse for chewing out your kids in that manner, in front of their friends, teammates, and everyone else who is watching. It's ONLY A GAME!
Second, I think it takes real nerve for some parents to have scathing criticisms when they aren't the ones out on the field, arena, or court. When I hear some parent shooting off their mouth I'd like to throw them on the volleyball court and see how good they are at returning a spike from the opposite side. Just like at home, we like to sit in our easy chairs yelling at the TV about athletes or officials who for whatever reason don't live up to the standards we impose on them. I really enjoy an old native American proverb, "never judge someone until you have walked a mile in their moccasins." I first heard this in 7th grade during my first experience at bible camp. What right have we to criticize anyone until we have actually been in their shoes for a time? I would argue even then we really still do not have the right to judge anyone....ever.
Mandan parks and recreation had a poster on display last year. I haven't seen it yet this year but I wish they'd bring it back. I'm sure it was targeted at these "over-exuberant" parents I'm talking about. I can't remember it word for word but it goes something like this. Parks and recreation activities are designed to teach children skills and encourage and promote good sportsmanship. Please let the children play, let the coaches coach, let the referees officiate, & above all, have fun. Sounds like pretty good advice.
We can practice good sportsmanship outside of athletic competitions as well. Letting someone into a busy traffic lane. Holding the door open. Saying please and thank you. Being kind and considerate to others. All of these are ways we can be good sports even outside the arena.
Come on, be a good sport!