Rant with Randi: The ‘New Age of Sportsmanship’
By Randi Crawford
Surely you’ve read about the undefeated Aledo Bearcats football team by now. They average 70 points per game and, recently, they beat Western Hills with a score of 91 – 0. If you’ve read reports about the game, it states that the coach starting substituting players as early as the first quarter. Apparently, his running back is so good that he touched the ball six times and scored 4 touchdowns (Wow). His back-up RB found holes to run through even without the starting offensive line. The team was playing their second and third team lines and back ups most of the game, and ran the clock out starting in the third quarter, doing everything short of taking a knee.
And wouldn’t you know it, a parent from the losing team “Had a hard time on the ride home with her son,” so she filed a “bullying complaint” against the coaching staff of the Aledo Bearcats. Can I just start out and say, “Typical.” The complaint stated that the coaching staff should have instructed their players to “ease up and quit playing hard once the game was in hand.”
The mom went on to ask how she was she supposed to explain that kind of a loss to her son? I’ll tell you how lady, it’s real simple: “Son, I love you whether you win or lose. But tonight, the Aledo Bearcats played phenomenal football and there’s a reason why they’re number 1. I realize it was a tough loss, but hopefully this will inspire you to work harder and find a way to kick their a** one of these days, or years.” But lady, the last thing you should have done is made an excuse for his team’s loss and place blame on the other coach. Use this experience as a life lesson – “Son, you’re not going to win every game, deal with it.”
My son plays football, and my father loves to watch. When he was about 8, his team was winning, so they told him to “take a knee” in lieu of running the ball and my father went full Parental Guidance (if you haven’t seen that movie, you should)! There’s a great scene when Billy Crystal goes nuts after his grandson (the pitcher) strikes a kid out, and the kid continues batting. Billy Crystal then confronts the umpire and says, “Hey, that was three strikes, he’s out.” The umpire replied, “There are no outs. In this league everybody wins, and it’s always a tie.” What made that moment so funny was the ugly truth in the statement from the umpire. You can laugh at the movie, but what you really want to do is scream in real life.
My dad couldn’t grasp (and still can’t) the concept, so here’s just part of our conversation after my son’s football game:
“Randi, what just happened”?
“Dad, they are already winning and don’t want to add insult to injury. They are teaching the kids about sportsmanship.”
“Randi, that goes against the grain for which our country was founded. I don’t accept this and neither should you.”
“Dad, they are teaching them to be humble.”
“Randi, they are 8 years old. What they are teaching them is socialism, not sportsmanship. Someone has to win and someone has to lose.”
There are about 100 different reasons why this Ft. Worth parent, who filed the complaint, is out of her mind, but here’s what’s important. While trying to protect her son out of love, and as a mother I get that, she is robbing him blind. Her son needs to know that making excuses for failure will result in a “victim” mentality and he will always blame someone else for his shortcomings. Our leaders in Washington are running the country the same way, but I will never succumb to this mentality, nor will my kids learn that way of thinking.
“So Dad, I now agree with you 100 percent, 8 years old or not. I will do everything in my power to teach my kids to accept responsibility for their actions, never blame anyone else for their failures and, most importantly, to never stop trying.”
Your thoughts? firstname.lastname@example.org
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