The Sportsmanship Guy turns 40

Yep, I celebrated the big 4-0 over the weekend and it was a blast. I had a lot of fun with family and friends, but there’s something I’ve wanted to do for the last several years that I couldn’t do until this birthday. I think Mike Gundy, head football coach at Oklahoma State can say it better than I can. Coach, if you please…

Yes, I’m 40 and yes, I’m a man. Now, that we’ve got that out of the way. I have learned a few things relative to sports – 20 to be exact. In my world, 40 is the new 20. Ha! I hope these tidbits will help you and yours gain a different perspective on sports and hopefully help you enjoy them a little more.

  1. If you don’t read another word of this post, remember this: Professional athletics is one, giant genetic lottery. If you don’t have the right parents, forget it.
  2. Sports are meant to be fun. They are a recreational activity for participants and entertainment for spectators.
  3. Parents should find something to do while the kids are at practice. Take an exercise class. Go shopping. Change the oil on the car. Just get away for awhile.
  4. Coaches are the least-trained adults we allow around children.
  5. Youth sports have become a profession for some adults. No, basketball doesn’t cost that much. You’re paying for someone’s Escalade.
  6. There’s no such thing as a “competitive” youth sports team. The good ones have a ringer. The dominant ones have two.
  7. The best sports for really young kids (ages 12 and under) are swimming, track and field and gymnastics.
  8. Parents are not the problem and they are not the enemy. Society as a whole overemphasizes the importance and effect of sports. This makes people act irrationally when they otherwise would not.
  9. A kid who hits a tough jumper is no more of a ‘Baby Jordan’ than a kid who gets an ‘A’ on his science test is a ‘Baby Einstein.’
  10. Kids need to unwind from a game just as adults need to unwind from work.
  11. Be your kid’s biggest fan.
  12. War metaphors in sports are disrespectful to the real heroes who served.
  13. Cheaters win more often than we’d like to admit because and losing are random occurrences.
  14. No one remembers who won the 6th grade basketball championship 25 years ago, but you do remember how your coach treated you, in 6th grade, 25 years ago.
  15. Despite what we’ve been taught, the name on the back of the jersey is far more important than the one on the front.
  16. It’s hard to tell girls you support them playing sports when you don’t show up to see them play.
  17. Opponent is not synonymous with enemy.
  18. You can either officiate, coach, play or be a fan. You can’t do more than one and you certainly can’t do all four.
  19.  Football is a dangerous sport as currently played and officiated. We can fix it or we can wait until all of our favorite players retire early and our kids don’t want to play.
  20. People always make time for what’s most important to them. Make time for your kids outside the gym and off the field.

One thought on “The Sportsmanship Guy turns 40

  1. Thanks Solomon,
    I agree with most of these items too. Although I am obviously not working for the right youth sports group if # 5 is true for all youth sports coaches. Where is my Escalade???


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