Last week as I was buzzing though my news feed, I came across something which made the athlete and coach in me vomit at the same time. It seems that the kids of today are being restricted more and more on the playing field.
Case in point: In Lawrenceville, Georgia, a youth football team was slapped with a $500 fine, and its coach received a one week suspension, just for playing the game. In the game, the Lawrenceville Black Knights were ahead in the fourth quarter 32-0, when one of the 8-year old players intercepted the ball and scored the first touchdown of his life.
His score caused the team to break the league’s 33-point mercy rule, which resulted in the fine and suspension.
When the parents and other volunteer personnel heard the news, they were shocked and appalled.
In a story from CBS46 news in Atlanta, the player’s mother was quoted, saying, “We were all super excited. He was beyond excited and we were fined for it; he had no idea (he was breaking a rule). This is his first year. This was his first touchdown. He is an 8-year-old boy making a pick-six.”
In response, my inner coach is shouting to let the kids play.
To add some contrast, I participated in several sports as a child. I played on several football teams. I know what it’s like to lose. One year, my team had a perfect losing season. Every time we lost, my teammates would feel a little bummed, but we would throw our pads on the next week and keep at it.
Did we go to the playoffs? No.
No matter how the game ended, did we have fun? Yes.
Many of the kids and adults who play organized sports, I will admit, are in it to win. And that’s not a bad thing at all.
This past World Cup was evidence of that mindset. The U.S. Men’s National Team was put into a group with three teams that historically had a reputation for beating everyone in their sight. To the shock of the world, we survived the “group of death,” and even won a few on the way. The chant of all Americans during that fabled moment was a simple, “I believe that we can win.”
Recently at Texas Christian University, their young quarterback was chided for not playing like a winner. The result of that? His next game he threw for 480 yards and racked up 7 touchdowns, and the TCU Horned Frogs demolished Texas Tech 82-27.
Where’s his fine? Where is his suspension? He won’t receive any. In fact, he was lauded as a hero. If anything, he deserves a Heisman or something, but that’s a topic for a different day.
Here at Weber State, soccer head coach Tim Crompton stated recently, “As a coach at WSU, we have done a lot of winning on this soccer field. This season is evidence that we need to lose. Not for luck or anything, but because each loss and victory helps us to learn and grow as people.”
Winners know how to overcome the odds and get things done. Winners are doers. Peyton Manning was faced with what should have been a career-ending neck surgery. Instead of quitting, he got back on the ball and worked his life back to a point that now he is breaking records. He is a winner.
To the young kid in Georgia, I say keep on winning. We have enough people who are willing to lose. We need more winners. We need more people who are willing to work though the losses and the victories, and just simply believe in themselves. Kid, I believe that you can win.
Charles can be found tweeting @cbowkstar_91 or believing in a WSU victory.