In Cheating, Coaching: Good/Bad/Unfair, Problems in Youth Sports

The game was far too close and hard fought for this kind of nasty crap! There was absolutely no need for it! But this was exactly how these athletes played: Reckless, overly aggressive and dirty! Because their coach consistently remained silent with this behavior, he was “loudly” condoning it. After all, winning is what it’s all about, right?

So one of their players came in hard and dirty, clipping an opposing striker right at her knees, taking her out of the play, the game, and her season with a badly torn ACL. It was an ugly, dirty play all the way. This kid wasn’t going for the ball, she was clearly going for the injury! Maybe she didn’t really intend to put her opponent out for the year. Most likely she didn’t mean to instill so much physical and emotional damage. But she did!

What’s worse is that as this kid lay writhing in pain on the ground, no one, as in NO ONE from the opposing team, not a coach, parent or player came over to this poor kid to try to offer their support or comfort. There were no apologies. There was no caring. Just nothing! Think about it anyway. Why would you talk to the “enemy” when what’s really important here is to win the game?

After the match, which the “dirty” team ended up winning, not one player or coach came over to this kid to see how she was doing. NOT ONE PERSON! The fact that the player causing the injury didn’t have the decency to come over is shocking to me! The fact that her coach didn’t get off his lazy, misguided ass and force his player to do the right thing is enraging. And the fact that he didn’t even have the wherewithal to check on this girl himself is flat out pitiful!

Just what in God’s good name are today’s coaches teaching their athletes about sports, winning and being a good human being? What lessons are they imparting about the things that truly matter in life? Is winning that important that players are encouraged to resort to whatever underhanded or cold-hearted means are necessary? And if this is the case, what does that really say about the value of this so-called “win?” This kind of an incident is both baffling and disturbing to me. Talk about winning a stupid soccer game as fool’s gold!

As upset as I am with the dirty play of this adolescent, I am far more troubled by the person who is mainly responsible: the coach! It’s the coach’s job to directly and actively teach his players the differences between right and wrong, fair and unfair, good and bad sportsmanship, acceptable and unacceptable behavior, and how to be a decent, caring human being. If the adults involved in highly competitive youth sports don’t do this, then we are creating a whole generation of soon-to-be adults who will continue to mistakenly believe that the true purpose of sports is to win NO MATTER HOW, a generation who believe in the value of fool’s gold.


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