Thursday, October 11, 2012

What would James Naismith think?

I found this on my computer - something I wrote a while back - a good reminder for the upcoming season...

From a simple game created out of peach baskets to give his students something to do in the winter months to total humiliation and embarrassment of another team.  Where did it, or better yet, where did we go wrong?  At what point did it become acceptable to teach young people that beating and annillating another team 100 to 0 was honorable and something to be proud of?  Now don’t get me wrong, I firmly believe in winning, but at what cost?  If it’s just a game than why keep score, right?  Again, at what cost?  The beauty of it all is that it actually is more than “just a game.”  Being a coach is more than just winning and losing!  Being a coach is being a teacher of “life lessons”.  I pride myself in teaching my athletes that hard work does pay off, that you do have to be accountable for you actions, that you have to put others before yourself and that a team is a group of people working together to achieve a common goal.  I cannot fathom the idea that a team’s common goal is to humiliate another team, no matter how bad or terrible they are at a particular sport. What good comes from that?  What lessons are learned?  How is that helping these children prepare for life?  I have been on both ends of the spectrum, and now being a small bit wiser; see how it truly affects people.  And after all, that’s all we’re dealing with - people.  That’s why we do what we do – because we love people.  I heard a coach recently defend himself of his actions like these (beating a team 40 to 4 in the second quarter and still full court pressing) by saying “it’s just what we do!”  I’d hate to be there when he gets his – because what goes around comes around.  And somewhere, someday – he will get his.  I am a firm believer in that we will all have to answer for the things we’ve done.  Maybe not to anyone that matters in this world but one day to a higher power!  Many times, the students we play against now will one day be coaching against you – do you think they will forget?  I understand that in the grand scheme of things none of it really matters but I just hate to think that this is what we’ve become.  This is what we amount too.  Those peach baskets mean so much more than just putting the ball through more times than the other team.  There are valuable lessons to be taught and learned.  Humiliation and embarrassment are not what James Naismith had in mind.    

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