Yesterday, my eight year old son's football team played a tough game. We knew it would be tough, the opposing team hadn't been scored on in two years. They had more nine and ten year olds than we did. Whether or not they "stack" teams in the town is still out for debate, but regardless, we knew they were good.
Our team is good too. We were undefeated. I knew this game was going to be a doozy.
The difference between our team and their team is that this team of undefeated, un-scored upon boys was coached to be full of themselves. The coach has the boys enter the field wearing fedoras. Sometimes they even wear sunglasses. They strut in, at the direction of this head coach, and let the other team know what "studs" (as he calls them on his Facebook page) they are.
Studs? Aren't they eight, nine and ten years old? How about we teach them to gentlemen? With good sportsmanship and manners?
I can't say much about how the boys behave on the field or at school, but I do know the coaches son leaves little to be desired as far as sportsmanship.
I know this because my son was blocking him. And after one particular block that maybe held this "stud" up, he asked my son if he wanted to fight. His exact phrase?
"You wanna go?!?"
My son didn't respond, and if he did it would have been something along the lines of "go where?"
I guess you can't blame the boy, he's doing what he's been instructed to do. As far as he knows, he's a "stud." Unfortunately, he will learn one day that this means just about zero in life.
I'm wishing every parent who volunteers their time to coach could be a good, strong example. Someone to teach kids how to hold their head high when they lose, and to reach out their hand when they win. Because eventually, all of these kids will be on a winning team and a losing team if they stay in sports.
I've parented through undefeated seasons and through completely, utterly win-less seasons. Both types of seasons can teach kids volumes about character and how to behave.
We all win and lose in life, and team sports can offer many lessons in how to handle it.
One lesson the boys on the opposing team will learn for sure is that being a "stud" is fleeting. I hope our boys know that being a class act is forever.
Happy Monday y'all.
Oh, we lost the game, 18-0. I'm sure our boys went into the game intimidated from all they'd heard over the past few weeks about this other team. And the other team was good, strong and fast. But our boys didn't wear fedoras, and not one kid on our team asked a kid on the other team to fight.