Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A Sports Ethic

This interesting story on Yahoo highlights a parenting delima I am having.
A nine year old boy who is not allowed to pitch because he is too 'good'

I took my oldest son to his first soccer game.
first, and I admit, this particular post is a bit of a 'bitch' on my part.
He had one short fall season of instructional soccer last fall and this year he just plays games.
Mind you, he has a high-school kid as a coach who doesn't explain anything about the game at all to any of the kids. The referee for the game is also a high-school kid who doesn't bother to explain the calls he makes. so most of the kids are clueless as to what is going on.

But here is my main concern.
The opposing team had a 'competitive' soccer player. there is 'competitive' and 'recreational'
My ex-wife signed our boy up for 'recreational' which I always thought meant fun and instructional. this was neither. It wasn't instructional and it wasn't fun. My boy handled the 12-2 drubbing we got thanks to the competitive kid, without much care. He just likes to get out there and run around. some of his team-mates were in tears because they just couldn't hang.

Back to the pitcher story. As a boy I was awful at sports. No one explained any of them to me and so I would should up at little league, ready to learn, with no one interested in teaching. they just wanted to play and win. there was no way for me to learn in that system. I'm sorry, but I'm having a hard time feeling bad for the pitcher who was told he couldn't pitch, because I'm the kid who already isn't that good at hitting to begin with, who isn't going to learn a thing by striking out in three pitches.

I'm not saying, don't let him play, find a league where he can be competitive and where the batters can compete with him. If he continues to strike out kids who can't keep up, what will they learn and what will he learn.

What is my son learning about sports from his experience at soccer? How to be a punching bag?

Here is my failing. I got so upset about the game I was trying to coach him for the whole game, which increased his stress levels trying to make me happy. I completely forgot the only reason I wanted him to play sports anyway; to get some exercise, meet other kids, and HAVE FUN.
I am disapointed by the apparent lack of concern on the part of the soccer powers that be, that including competitive kids in recreational leagues ruins the fun for everyone.

What I have to remember is my sport ethic. Play because its fun, you meet some people you like and you feel good about accomplishing something. I'm not going to push my son any more to keep up with little mister Beckham on the other team.
Learn something new, have a good time, introduce yourself to a team-mate
then soccer is worth something.

Oh, and yes, I want my son to learn to be concerned with the other players and the opposing players. I don't want 'winning' to be his only goal. I want him to value sports achievement for everyone, not just himself and his team.

Now I just have to remember that myself.

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