Coaches set poor example at Nanny Miller Bowl
To the editor: Youth football is a sport: "Sport, that which amuses; pastime; playful."
Upon completion of the 2010 Youth Football League (YFL) season, I can honestly say some youth coaches really showed their true colors. They tried to get the rules and referees to their advantage, not to mention influence the YFL officers.
I guess "in the world of politics" we see an increase in meanness with an attitude of win at all cost. Presumably, during the last game of the season, this team was trying to give a lesson on football strategy, as they drove the score up. Instead, all these coaches showed these impressionable young children that there are people in this world who value winning over everything else, no matter what the cost to their souls. These types of coaches can and will use children for their own glory, no matter how it affects the kids.
Every team has some good players. What every youth league coach should never forget is that they are coaching a team of young football players. No matter how good a few of your players may be, they, like everyone else who comes to practice, are part of the team. All team players deserve playing time and the same field opportunities. If this method of equality is used, then, besides learning who the best is, everyone learns that they have something to contribute.
The whole reason behind this YFL is to provide structure and support for an activity that can give children a chance to develop muscle strength, coordination and have fun with their friends. Practices and games can provide the kind of exercise that keeps kids healthy. And a little competition helps kids learn how to win and how to lose, but mostly how to enjoy the game. Sadly, at the Nanny Miller Bowl, I only saw one team on that field having fun, and it was the team that was losing.
What every youth league coach should know is that once you step out of these parameters, you begin to give kids a counter-productive experience. Youth league football is a sport. No matter how basic this sounds for some coaches, it may be the first rule they forget.
Competition can bring out the best and worst in people. I am sure most coaches are not inherently bad people. Like some coaches, I have seen, as a youth sports parent, when it comes to championship games, even the nicest people can choke on their whistle, gagging on their ideals of teaching young children and instinctively going for the win.
After seeing the Nanny Miller Bowl, two unwritten rules of youth football come to mind: You never intentionally set up a situation for any kid on either team to fail, and any good sportsman knows you never run the score up unless you enjoy being seen as less of a man.