It's not wether you win or lose in Little League

Published 8:46 am Wednesday, May 11, 2005

By Staff
Letter to the Editor
As you know Little League is in full swing. I remember a time in years gone by when the goals set forth by the coaches taught the children to strive to be better at the game of baseball and developed an attitude of team spirit and taught the kids how to conduct themselves in a sportsmanlike manner. The intent of the spirit of Little League was to build character in our youth. But I think that some of the coaches and the powers that be over Little League have lost site of what is most important. Winning the game has taken precedent over encouraging a child to strive to be better, to have team spirit, and to have good sportsmanlike conduct.
Gone is the encouragement that once existed. How do I know this? I attended a game on Saturday where I observed countless errors being made by the supposed "best players" while three small boys sat on the bench. I observed the disappointment on the faces of these boys first hand. It was clear they were hurt and disappointed. "All I need is a chance," I overheard one say. After hearing this I approached one of the coaches and asked if all the kids would be given an opportunity to play. "It depends," the coach said, "if we're winning." I questioned the coach, "Is winning the most important thing? What about the disappointment of those sitting on the bench? These kids go to practice and they're here as a part of the team. Isn't that important?" The coach made no response. It was apparent that the coach had lost sight of the intent of the game, and the fact that these kids were only nine or ten years old.
What happened to it doesn't matter whether you win or lose, it's how you play the game? The only encouragement that some of these kids receive is from a coach that says "that a boy" or "good try" or "we'll get them next time".
Well, the boys finally got an opportunity to play the last inning. Oh, the team still lost the game, but the children lost much more. Statistics show that children who receive encouragement at an early age by coaches, teachers, members of the community, and their families tend to stay out of trouble. They are less likely to get involved in drugs and alcohol and more likely to become responsible adults.
If you're a coach and you haven't lost sight of the spirit of the game, then I commend you for keeping your eye on the ball.
Just in case you're wondering, I don't have a child that plays Little League ball.
Kathy Allison

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