An Italian-American living la dolce vita in the Deep South

An Italian-American living la dolce vita in the Deep South

Saturday, January 30, 2010

What's the lesson here . . .

for the young athlete who shows up for each and every basketball practice, but doesn't get noticed?

for the parents who cheer from the stands, clapping at each and every basket . . . none of them the young athlete's because he's sitting on the bench?

for the young athlete who sits on the bench, high fiving subs as they come in and out of the game?

for the parents who smile, painfully aware that the young athlete only played a minute in the first quarter, four minutes the entire game, or not at all?

for the young athlete who really is quite good but, for whatever reason, is never allowed to prove himself?

for the parents who contribute to the coach's gift, despite the fact he never gives the young athlete a chance?

for the young athlete who, after celebrating with the team, gets into the car discouraged and feeling inadequate?

for the parents who don't know what to say to him?

What's the lesson here?

If you have one, tell me, because I surely don't know.


Ellen Stewart (aka Ellie/El) said...

I have questions too...

How old is the athlete?

Has he approached the coach?

My brother was a gifted athlete (full ride to U for football), but once in college wasn't played. He then coached HS, then college baseball and is now a MLB scout. So I've heard lots of stories.

It's hard to know when to get involved as a parent. If it's a middle school, winning shouldn't be the aim--playing should be. If it's higher than that, and the other players are also quite good, well that makes it tough.

I know when my son tried out for basketball in middle school, the coach said he didn't even consider Mac, he just selected all the boys who'd been on the football team, "Because I knew they were tough." Mac never went out for team sport again (track became his passion).

So hard on so many levels.

Suburban Correspondent said...

You need to be a squeaky wheel and bring this up with the coach!

Tiziana said...

Damiano e Chiara hanno fatto e fanno sport individuali e per questo motivo non ho mai avuto questa esperienza.
Capisco però che è deprimente soprattutto per l'atleta, dopo tanti sacrifici e allenamenti, non poter giocare almeno per qualche minuto. Secondo me, a questa età, tutto dipende dall'intelligenza dell'allenatore, che deve far capire (prima di tutto a se stesso) che tutti i ragazzi meritano la stessa attenzione, che tutti sono importanti per la squadra e che nessuno è indispensabile.
Comunque vedrai che avrete altre occasioni per applaudire il vostro ragazzo e sarà ancora più bello!!

Comunque vedrai che ci sarà

Nonna said...

La Vita E` Bella (Life is Beautiful) is the title of a touching Italian movie by Roberto Benigni. Yes, life is beautiful but at times it can be very dufficult especially when we feel ignored, negletted and not appreciated by the people around us. These are the moments when we have to learn to smile and raise our heads to God thanking him for the many, many blessings and talents that he has given us.
Only with God's peace in our hearts we can face the ups nd downs of our lives and declare "Yes, la vita e` bella">

Nonno said...

The lesson is one for school coaches and sports directors. From my way of thinking, school sports should be a learning experience as much as academics. Too many times the emphasis is on winning at all costs and the experience of learning teamwork and sportsmanship is lost, especially for those who are "benched" solely because a coach thinks other players are more likely to win. Team sports are about winning, however all suited athletes should be given equal opportunity to play. This is not "pro" sports; it is organized SCHOOL activity and should be approached as such!

Lisa said...

We've had a couple standout experiences with this exact scenario, Bia and it's always hard. I think the only real lesson is that life is not fair. And there is more than one way to handle the fact that life's not fair.

Sometimes you stick with it and prove yourself:our oldest son is a baseball phenom, but because he was a homeschooler, even though the local pub school was obliged by law to allow him on the team, they looked down their noses at him, assuming he was backward or something. Puh-lease. But Paul doesn't give up; he won them over, and by the time the year was up, he was their star player.

The other alternative is to not waste your pearls before swine: our second oldest son got a spot on a a semi-pro football team, and was the best and fastest safety on the team, but he was also a newby and the youngest man in a "good-ole-boy club." He took it for a while, then quit to find a better team. And he's much happier and getting more play now. It depends on the kid and the situation, I think -- but "Never Give Up" is a good theme to teach with these discouragements, I think...

Blessings to your long-suffering athlete. So many of us have been there...

Soutenus said...

This frustrates me to no end! I have absolutely NO useful advice - just wanted you to know that I empathize.

If this is a school situation I might be tempted to be that squeaky wheel . . . of course, you always have to know the players (as in - coach, principal, powerful others/parents). Sometimes even the best attempts to communicate can backfire depending on who is in charge and the attitude of coaches.

If it is an organized sports league with written standards and practices I would look into the "play time" policies.
For example, @ the YMCA the coaches' goal (as stated in the policies) is to give all players experience, playtime and chances at different positions on the team.

This has to be extremely frustrating to your son! I think "life is not fair" (as Lisa said)is a strong lesson here.
Good sportsmanship and a good attitude are going to pay off in the end.

Let us know what happens. I sure hope he keeps playing. Sounds like he is a great player!

Ua said...

I absolutely sympathize! This season, though, CJ has a coach who gives each player, no matter how good or bad, an equal amount of time on the court. It's very refreshing! Too bad all coaches don't realize the point of it all: to learn the sport. In fact, the players who aren't so skilled should get the most court time, especially at a young age.

GGKnits said...

My kids (19, 16 & 13) have also heard "life is not fair" but my DH and I gently encouraged them to try individualized sports --cross country, track, swimming & nordic skiing. They particiate at every meet and their time is the proof. I know that doesn't help is BB is your sons passion but not many kids get to be one of the chosen few, in my opinion.

Anonymous said...
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E said...

I would send a copy of this blog to the coach.
Have you or the athlete talked to the coach? The young athlete might have been encouraged to state his case. And then you as his advocate should also feel free to discuss his progress and growth with the coach. that of course would lead to a broader discussion. .
When all else fails go to the person's superior because this is not a lesson kids need to learn. Competition is fine, but every young athlete should experience personal growth and opportunity. Otherwise what is the point, to amuse a middle aged coach with a series of fun games to watch and wins to count? Instead kids need to know how to make their voce heard and know that adults make mistakes.
If nothing changes after the athlete and the parents and the supervisory are approached then find another team...maybe even another school where the values mesh with your own.
I am thinking of you and your athlete Bia

Wendy said...

So sorry you are experiencing this, Bia. When we first moved to IN, we enouraged Bryce to go out for basketball, thinking it would give him a chance to make more friends. Alas, in the end, we felt it did more damage than good, because he was AWFUL. When he did get put in, you could see that the other boys resented it. He had been used to excelling at soccer and here he was trying a game that (in IN) every boy starts quite young. It pained our hearts and it lead to some acting out in school, but it was definitely a growing experience for him and one I'm sure God will use in his life.

j.a.varela said...


Thanks for your post. And sorry for answer in spanish but I know you understand it very well.

Ciertamente, cuál es la razón, cuál el objetivo? En casa, con 8 varones y dos niñas nos lo preguntamos muchas veces con tus mismas palabras.Y eso que algunos eran muy buenos.

La respuesta va por el lado de no confundir un colegio o una actividad deportiva para chicos con un club de alta competencia.

El deporte a estas edades o es formativo, divertido y participativo o no es nada.

Deben pensarlo los directivos.

Gracias BIA.

Lo copiaré para mi blog "un colegio inolvidable"


Christopher K. said...

I know what it feels like. This year though, I have a much better coach. Equal share to everyone (about 6 mins. each we have 14 people). I don't even remember last years coach.

:o) mg said...

sigh... I can relate to this.
I just wish mine had made the team.

Anonymous said...

Hi, I too have three sons, all of which are athletes, I very kindly and respectfully asked the coach to put my son in the game. Even if its only one inning, or 10 minutes, it is his responsibility as a coach to give our children game time. Remind your son to ask to be put in the game. Using respect and good sportsmanship as your guide will support your efforts as a parent, but also being assertive will help, otherwise you may become invisible. Good luck.

Bia said...

Dear Anonymous,

Thank you for your words of wisdom. I agree that we need to speak up kindly and with a good attitude (and we did), but it's just unfortunate that we even had to in the first place . . .

Blessings to your three sons.