(Hopefully) good sports essays and observations for good sports by a guy who tries (and can sometimes fail) to be a good sport.


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Saturday, June 27, 2009

Faith Renewed

I've been involved in many extracurricular activities over the years, trying to find some balance in life given the demands of the working world. Most have enabled me to contribute something to a group and make it better. Recently I've borne witness to a few where adults have acted in a less than stellar fashion, either acting out, being dishonest and showing poor character or tolerating those who do. I don't know whether such conduct has been a sign of the times, but as I shop for a new extracurricular, I have found great comfort in an activity in which my daughter recently participated.

She played on a tournament softball team, which differs from a travel team in that the roster gets chosen in the midst of a recreational league season and the team plays in a limited number of games before June 30. In contrast, travel teams get selected in late August and stay together for almost an entire year; the commitment is much greater -- for the child and the family.

I have posted in these ranks about my disappointment in certain rec league coaches, who act as though they're Tony LaRussa and seek every edge instead of Tony your neighbor who cooks a mean steak on a gas grill. That said, everything about this tournament team went well -- the coaches tried to teach as much as they could, they were a good mixture of seriousness and enthusiasm, and they stressed excellence, teamwork and harmony. Atop that, the girls were a great group -- earnest, hard working and supportive of one another. Even better, the parents were a good and supportive group, worrying more about the greater good of the team than the statistics of their children.

It was a successful season, even if the team lost many more games than it won and even if it didn't fare well in its tournaments. The team was together for only six weeks, but girls got better, girls learned new skills and made new friends.

The last time I checked, that's what this type of activity is supposed to be about.

The wins on the field will come.

But if you ask the parents, the entire season -- amidst terrible weather in the mid-atlantic region -- was terrific.


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