If winning is the only thing, we’re doing HS Sports wrong

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If winning is the only thing, we’re doing HS Sports wrong

Postby MattyB » Tue Jun 18, 2019 6:28 am

BREWER — In the still-swirling dust following a 10-run loss in the Class A softball state championship game, Lee Johnson offered the words hundreds of coaches have turned to over the years to try and console his team sprawled across Coffin Field’s left field grass.

“I told my kids to keep their heads high and remember the season they had,” Johnson said after Skowhegan was defeated by Scarborough on Saturday. “Don’t let one day affect you.”

Johnson turned to those words because they remain true. As a colleague said to me during the Red Storm’s three-run second inning that sent that program on its way to its fifth win over Skowhegan in a state championship, there’s plenty of winning to go around. Losing is what builds character, what teaches you to deal with failures, what prepares you for life’s many ups and downs ahead.

Immediately, I found it difficult to watch what I thought was a career-defining moment once again elude Skowhegan players — like Lucy pulling the football away from Charlie Brown’s eager foot yet again. I’d covered many of these girls since they were wide-eyed freshmen, “happy to be here” and just wanting “to do whatever the team needs me to do.”

Admittedly, that was unfair of me. It’s unfair of anybody to view winning as the only acceptable outcome.

For the third time in their careers, the seniors on the Skowhegan team won the regional championship in June to get the opportunity to play for the state title. Not only was the team undefeated through the end of the Class A North tournament this season, but five of the team’s starters made up the starting five as part of a girls basketball team at the school that was undefeated in the regular season this winter. They resurrected a girls soccer program last fall, giving Skowhegan its first postseason berth in 13 years — this fall doubling its win total from the previous three seasons combined.

Next year, two years, 10 years from now, a class like that is going to be remembered for being among the most enjoyable and competitive there was to watch. Any talk about the abrupt endings to playoff runs will be followed with a cursory, “It’s just a shame they never won it all.”

And it is a shame, but the the reminiscing will move forward to the stuff that’s truly memorable. Sydney Reed’s home run against the best pitcher anybody on that team had ever faced in their high school careers will be lauded. The role players who seemed to have a knack for doing something important at all the right times will be remembered. Memories of the bus trips, the fast-food stops on the way home from a road win over rival Oxford Hills or Messalonskee, the hanging out over dinner and Netflix the nights before playoff games to forge lifelong friendships won’t be erased.

Read Rest: https://t.co/d6GYY3TpgH


"MattyB": Nice article, interesting, important, timely and relevant. I agree 100%,

I would add if schools athletic programs do not "teach the life lessons that cannot be taught in the academic classrooms and because many parents don't teach them either" (NFIHSA) National Federation Interscholastic High School Athletics objective which many high schools may belong too, then all they really have is "high priced intramural programs".

The biggest reason they don't is because many parents interfere with the athletic programs about 1. playing time, 2. Squad selections, 3. team strategies and 4. wins and losses and the many administrations that don't support their coaches.

Parents should never be allowed to discuss any of the "4 cardinal rules for parent" listed in the above paragraph with any school personnel.

These 4 cardinal rules for parents should be part of the schools athletic contract and parents should have to sign the contract in order for a student can tryout or participate on a school athletic team.

Wonder how many schools in Maine have such a contract? Certainly not in the schools where parents get the coaches not rehired. Polite words "not rehired" for "your fired"!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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