Friday, May 16, 2008

A Season Ends With Sportsmanship

The Atlanta Braves (Buford Sports t-ball version) ended their season on Tuesday, going down to defeat to the A’s in the playoffs. It was a valiant effort. Christopher’s team tried its best and made all of us parents proud. I will remember forever remember the play when Christopher tagged a kid out at home, turned around, and then raced to second to tag a second kid out there. (Unfortunately, under the t-ball rules, the kid at second was ruled safe. It’s okay to tag a runner out at home, but only the second basemen or the shortstop can tag a kid out at second. Other players have to throw a ball to one of these two.)

Another play, this time from the other team, will also stand out in my mind. It was the second inning. The A’s had scored four runs in the top half of the inning and led 9-5. (Teams are limited to five runs per inning.) Christopher’s team was now at bat. His teammate at the plate took a huge swing and knocked the ball down the third base line. However, the boy lost his balance and fell down, landing on his own arm. Had he not slipped, he would have made it to first base easily. Instead, he rose slowly and stood at home plate crying while his dad, who was also one of the coaches, tried to comfort him. With plenty of time, the third baseman threw the ball to 1st base for the 2nd out. It was the first 5-3 putout (third baseman throws to first basemen for the out) I’ve seen all season in one of Christopher’s games. The kid walked to the dugout, drying his tears, while his mother stood by the side of the dugout, waiting to check on him.

As the boy sat down on the bench, the coach of A’s got the umpire’s attention and did something I hadn’t seen before. He told the umpire to put our player on first base. The out was taken off the board. The next player up struck out, but it was now only two outs instead of three. Had the out stood? Christopher’s team would have scored no runs in the 2nd inning and trailed 9-5. Because of the coach’s act of sportsmanship, Christopher’s team scored three runs and trailed only 9-8 at the end of the second.

Had the coach not done what he did, no one would have thought anything about it. My wife and I, like every other parent in the stands, just hoped the kid was okay and viewed the incident as a bad break. (Fortunately, the previous sentence was not a pun.) If the kid were older, something like this, where a coach gives an opposing player a base, would not happen. Yet, this simple act of kindness in a teeball game pointed out that it IS a game and that the kids were there to have fun and enjoy themselves.

I would like to think all parents and coaches would have the same view of the game as this coach did. Yet, we often hear stories of parents and coaches getting out of hand, yelling at coaches or at opposing parents.

It’s refreshing to see such sportsmanship displayed and to know it’s being taught to the kids.

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