Saturday, November 18, 2006

Youth sports

Both boys had basketball games today. Daniel's was exciting, won by our kids with an 11-0 run at the end of the game. The other team had a 13-year-old that stands 6' 1" and can already play. I expect to hear about him a lot the next 4 years. Daniel covered him for a little over 1/2 a quarter, with the task of just using as much energy as he could to harass the kid. Daniel did a great job.

Michael's game was against a team that they have already played once, and will play again. NYS apparently doesn't have anyone on staff that can schedule a season.

Anyways, the coach of the other team is pretty aggressive. His kids play well, but he is a little irritating on the sidelines. Michael's coach really wanted to beat him, at least in part because of his personality.

Daniel and I kept score, which means that we were just 5-10 feet from him most of the game. I found myself getting irritated with the comments he would make to his kids: "you take it right to them and run over them," "you can take him," other comments, appropriate for older kids, a little much for 10-year-olds. At one point, the coach tells me I got the score wrong, but I hadn't, so I said to him "I got it coach. I got the right score." I admit, I was frustrated with him, but not aggressive. Then, in the third quarter, one of our kids tries to put up a shot and gets nothing on it, so it falls way short, and he says (a little too loudly for my taste) "He's got nothing!" So I turn, and in a very mild tone (as pastoral as I could manage) "You know coach, they're just 10."

Now, I probably should have shut up. Really, I should have. Both coaches were emotional, the head ref was getting more and more irritated with both of them, and I really didn't need to jump in. But I hate to see kids games treated like they actually matter. Sure, the kids like to win, but most of them forget the losses within minutes. They just want to learn to play. And I thought this coach crossed a line.

You should have seen the eruption. There are probably tsunami warnings along the Pacific Rim as a result of it. He starts screaming at the head official, "I want him off the score table!" Over and over again. Fortunately, the head official knows me, and so after explaining very firmly to the coach that he has no intention of acceding to his demands, he walks over and asks me what happened, then offers that perhaps I could refrain from commentary. Which I did.

Happy ending. The coach comes up to me after and apologizes. Very nicely. I accepted his apology, but did not offer one of my own. I don't think I had anything more than bad timing. And I am hoping that the coach takes a moment to reflect.

I will get to find out, we play them again in a couple of weeks. I will remind the official of all that happened, and suggest an up-front approach that might help defuse things.

I intend to keep score.

1 comment:

the-unintentional-blogger said...

Ahh, overly competitive coaches in children's sports bug me. I was never any good and it was criticisms like that that kept me from pursuing it any further. I think your right that the scorekeeper shouldn't be making comments like that, but since I'm not a score keeper, I would be more than happy to make comments like that at your next game!