I’ve been involved with youth sports ever since I was a kid playing little league baseball at Twin Hills park just south of San Diego CA. Grew up playing baseball competitively until high school. Went off to college and fashioned myself as the intramural junkie. Flag Football, Basketball, Softball, you name it, I tried to play it. Began officiating sports as a college student and have officiated in the neighborhood of a thousand sporting contests. Sports and competition are the classrooms for some of the best lessons in life. Today, however, that classroom is being turned around and upside down. Far too many parents and coaches are involved for the wrong reasons. Kids are trapped in a web of 24/7 sports highlights, shoe and apparel ads, multi-million dollar dreams, and the desires of mom and dad to become what they never could.
On the fields of competition there must always be some kind of judge of upholding the rules of play and the penalties of violations. That person is human just like your little Johnny who can’t keep his attention focused because his booty itches or his boogers are amazing. That job is learned and advanced just like the players on the field and 95% of the time the official is better at his/her craft than the booger eaters on the field. Parents and coaches LOVE to place blame for their mistakes on the ref. If you didn’t miss that foul late we would have won. Yeah, well if your team wasn’t 9-21 from the line, maybe you would have won also. Was it Pass Interference late in the 4th? Perhaps, maybe not. But don’t fumble the ball 4 times either. Was that pitch outside? Maybe, but don’t send your 10 year old up to bat looking for a walk or believing he should get Mike Trout’s strike zone either. Coaches and players are out here loosing their minds when they lose a game or a call doesn’t go their way.
I say all that to say this….. it’s OK to take an L. It’s OK to strike out. It’s OK to miss a FT. It’s OK to drop a pass, miss a block, make an error, etc…. Whenever you step on the field of competition, the purpose is to have feelings of “triumph” and “defeat” be bestowed upon everyone in some fashion. The goal of youth / prep sports is to teach that lesson. Teach ALL the participants, on the field and in the stands and even in stripes, that in life you gotta own your part and most importantly, move on.