A lesson in shame, instead of celebration of achievement

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Losing sucks. There is no other way for me to feel about it. I have coached high school soccer for eight seasons and rec league for my two daughters for 12 or 13 seasons now. There have been a lot of wins and a lot of losses.

Sometimes the losses are full of tears for some players. I have never discouraged this. I have had several parents come up to me over the years and apologize for their son or daughter’s “poor sportsmanship.” For me, showing sadness after losing is just as appropriate as the victors laughing and smiling. It just means the player is passionate about his or her sport and is disappointed about losing. If a player chooses to say mean comments to the opponents, this is something entirely different.

On a recent Saturday my family watched a friend coach his rec team to victory. A dad chose to publicly berate his son for crying after the game and created quite a stir on the sidelines as 50-plus parents looked on and felt sorry for the your man who had just played his heart out and given everything he had out there. The son had an amazing game, lost, cried quietly, then was publicly shamed for his effort. He was also embarrassed in front of his team and the opponent’s team. Instead of teaching his son that second place is a great accomplishment, he taught him a lesson in shame.

JUSTIN HENNEY

Sandpoint

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