I attended the Beth Krom fundraiser yesterday but had to leave before Congresswopman Loretta Sanchez introduced Beth Krom because I was an assistant coach on my daughter’s 4th grade all-star basketball team.Â I’m sure I was the only person there wearing blue jeans, basketball shoes and a coach’s shirt.
One of the great little secrets of Orange County is that it’s home to the headquarters of National Junior Basketball, a growing youth basketball program akin to Little League or Pony Baseball, and even AYSO, but it hasn’t expanded completely nationally yet even though there are chapters throughout California, Arizona, Hawaii, Nevada, Oregon and Missouri; there are 25,000 players in NJB youth leagues in their communities and it’s my sincere hope that NJB becomes the national model for youth basketball.Â It’s a quality organization as is the Irvine Youth Basketball League my kids have played in.
Sunday afternoon, while we were waiting for our game at University High to start, we watched a girl’s division game between two teams I won’t name.Â The final was 63-11; I’m guessing the girls were in 7th or 8th grade.Â In checking the scores and results of other games, there were a few other very lopsided scores.Â The girl’s on the winning team kept playing like it was a tied game and the girl’s on the losing side were certainly doing their best and didn’t give up.Â But this lopsided outcome really bothered me.Â
It is necessary to win by 52 points?
In our girl’s 4th grade division, there was a 63-12 game and a 46-16 game.Â The boy’s 4th grade side had some lopsided victories too: One team crushed its opponents 63-13 and 70-18.Â I could go on for other divisions and other games with similar results.Â There were also a lot of close games too.
For the coaches of the teams that won by 30 points or more, honestly, what are you thinking?Â It is really necessary to abjectedly humiliate another team?Â What does this say about your sportsmanship?Â Granted, when you get to the all-star level, every player is a good player.Â Why not sit your best players?Â There’s no shot clock.Â Tell you’re kids they can only score it they have a layup.Â Tell them they can’t shoot until the team has made 10 passes.Â Or 20.Â Better still, have every player shoot only three pointers (which is a low percentage shot).Â
I’m certainly not suggestingÂ teams and coachesÂ not be competitive and not try to win, but once you’ve doubled the other team’s score, there’s a way to win with grace. And class.
Our team dropped all three of our games, the last one by only a basket.Â We played hard every game and never quit.Â At the pizza party at the end of the game, there were the smiles and giggles of 9 and 10 year old girls, many of who are good friends, happy to have been on a team together.Â I’ll frankly remember the pizza party and our practices longer than the games I have on DVD but will likely never watch again.