I know it’s March Madness, but when did teaching kids to be bullies become acceptable in our world? I am so fed up with coaches who act like complete jerks I just want to scream. Instead, I shall vent my frustrations to you, my adoring public, some of whom are probably the aforementioned jerks. So be it. It’s time you were called out.
My daughter plays basketball for an in-house church league. Only the most blatant shooting fouls are called, traveling is still OK, and even a basket for the other team is celebrated. Basically, everyone’s there to have fun and eat post-game cookie cake.
But a recent game was different. For starters, the other team was a bit scary; they were tall and extremely aggressive, frazzling our girls from the get-go. But that’s good for them; playing physical is part of the game. Then two things happened in quick succession that turned this from an intense competition to a disgusting display of sportsmanship and coaching. First, the other team called a switch mid-play that pit their best player against our worst even though coaches “assign” same-level players to each other to keep the game fair. The girl immediately stole the ball and scored an easy layup. Our coach called a time-out to discuss this with the other coach, who denied any accusations of rule-bending, claiming “she was just picking up the ball.” Whatever. If you need to cheat to win an 8-year-old basketball game, you have bigger issues.
Minutes later, a different player on the opposing team, one who’d been warned repeatedly about holding and reaching in, quite literally threw one of our girls to the ground. When the teenage referee called the foul, madness ensued. From my end of the court, I couldn’t hear anything, but I did see this: Our player crying, the fouler screaming at the ref, our coach walking over to settle everyone, and then their coach coming off the bench to also yell at the referee. We were just one swing short of a complete melee.
When the dust cleared, no one apologized to our player, the other team’s parents didn’t clap when she hobbled off the court, and after they won, their coaches didn’t shake hands with our players or coaches. This is Third. Grade. Girls. It’s not the NCAA tourney, for God’s sake. And even if it were, sportsmanship should still prevail.
All this coach did was to encourage an atmosphere of disrespect and bullying. You should be ashamed of yourself, sir, as should your parents who allow this behavior to continue. March Madness should be a celebration of basketball, not a total disregard for the sport. Peace out.