Unsportsmanship… is it the child or the parent?

Posted by in Parenting Tags: , , , on November 22, 2014 0 comments

Watched an interesting game of basketball today with my son’s team. This is his first season in the A-grade, which is very exciting, considering all my son’s learning and speech difficulties he has had to overcome. He played his third game today on Court 1 at the basketball stadium – the court that the semi-professionals play on with two electronic score boards, stadium seating, change rooms and player’s seating area. His coach was hoping for a win, as our team was really close last week, missing by only a couple of goals. And they have improved so much since their self-esteem has been boosted by being in the A-grade.

So, when a player from the other team decided that he would fall to the ground after one of our team players did a sneaky ball play on him, the parents on our team had a bit of a laugh, knowing that something like ‘playing the game’ got to this 11 year old boy. But when he did it again, and again, and again… to the point that he was swearing and cursing… the umpires ended up giving our team six free shots at goal because of his un-sportsman-like behaviour. When we were offered the six free shots, the score was 40-36 (the other team winning) with only a minute or two left. Potentially his behaviour could have cost the game.

This young lad was so angry with the umpires decision he actually stormed off the court, passed the entry to the stadium and outside. We saw him waiting under a tree, with no parents or coach surrounding him, or even telling him how disgraceful his behaviour was. Which made me wonder… is it the parents fault for not giving him any sportsmanship guidance or was there something more sinister going on with this child?

Who is responsible for teaching this boy the rights and wrongs of being in a team? It’s obvious it’s something that hasn’t been ingrained in him. Coaches come and go, but parents can either show them the rights and wrongs of sportsmanship or explain to them which way is the best way to act. It was quite atrocious how he acted, and it was great to see the umpires penalising his team for his actions.

Speculating in the future… will his team allow him to play again based on his ranting and raving, will he be suspended by the Basketball Association, will he choose not to be in the team, or will he come back and keep acting so badly? As parents walking back to the parking lot, we joked about how he should lose his contract, get fined thousands of dollars or go to the basketball tribunal like the professionals, but jokes aside, he should be penalised beyond the actual game so he completely understands the consequences of his action.

Our team was great and how they dealt with this boy… they completely ignored him and kept shooting goals, which completely unsettled the other team. Our team stayed focus on what they needed to do, and we can’t ask them for anything more. We are super proud of our team and how they work ‘as a team.’ There is no hero player and they pass the ball around so everyone gets a go. They are all stars in their own right and they behave like gentleman, shaking the hands of the other team after the game. We still lost the game, because for some reason, we just couldn’t get any of those one-pointers we got for that bad-child’s behaviour to get through the ring. Hopefully next week, we will succeed!