It’s never wrong to do the right thing. My wife tells our kids that all the time. As we all know, that advice is easy to give but sometimes hard to follow.
This weekend my fourth grade son’s team played in an AAU Tournament. During one of the games he got tangled up with a player from the other team during an inbounds play while he was trying to deny the ball in. I was looking in a different direction so I didn’t see what happened, but my son was whistled for a foul. At the next time-out I asked him what happened on the play and he told me that he was denying the ball the way he had been taught with his foreman on his man’s chest and a hand in the passing lane. His man locked down on his arm and made it seem as if my son was holding on to him (pretty crafty for fourth grade!) I just told him, “Hey, that’s part of the game, don’t let it stop you from playing the game hard like you’ve been taught. My son nodded and the game continued.
Our team lost that game by a pretty wide margin, the clock was running through most of the second half. The other team continued to press despite having a big lead. That never bothers me too much as a coach, but it does bother some parents. It’s not what I would do with a big lead, but I always tell my team, if you don’t like getting pressed and getting beat, let’s get better so it doesn’t happen the next time.
As we went through the post-game handshake line everything seemed fine. I’ve talked a lot to my teams about having high character and that we need to win and lose with class. As we walked over towards the hallway to have a quick huddle, my son pulled me aside to tell me that the player who he had gotten tangled up with stuck out his hand and then pulled it back during the handshake line. I asked him what he did in response to that and he said, “Nothing Dad, I just said good game and kept walking down the line. Some kids are just really bad sports, even when they win.” I put my arm around him and told him how proud of him I was. Moment over, but it made me feel good that he handled the situation the way he did. Lesson learned. It’s never wrong to do the right thing.
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