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  • Lance Mannion
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"Karate for whole life. Understand?"
--Mr. Miyagi, The Karate Kid


Jack will learn that although sore, his father is a good sport because he did not post the other coach's picture for all to see what an a*****e really looks like.

My 64lbs 4th grader was too polite for soccer... she was always saying, "No, after you!" She was very good at passing to people in better spots though and that was a skill not many wanted to have.


As much as we all hate to admit it, Calvin and Hobbes' dad was right: losing does build character.

My little brother had a very similar experience in our cityonly won little league program. His first year he was put on a team of unwanteds. Somehow, 90% of these were the kids of immigrants/minorities whose parents were not Americanized enough to realize that parents should use their connections to get their kid on a "winning team" and avoid the league's laziest/worst coach.

Those Little Mets didn't win a single game and they forfeited more than their fare share for lack of 9 uniformed players or (one time) a coach. But, after two years of losing he was drafted to the next league up (for 10-12 year olds) and their team managed to win a city title. The losing only made that victory sweeter and I know it gave my brother a far more rational outlook on the role sports should play in one's life than myself.

Hope your Geckos grow a couple inches and kick some ass next year!


I was on a hardball Little League team at age 8 in a small town where we played something like 40 games over the length of a long summer and lost every game. It was the same story, the luck of the town lottery, where we had all the small, uncoordinated 8-years olds who were being pitched to overhand with fastballs by kids who had already hit puberty. It was pretty ugly, including the time they threw me into the shortstop position for lack of anyone else and somebody hit a line drive which so scared me I turned my back and it hit me in the butt, quite effectively stopping the ball. Nobody could move for laughing.

However, there were a few silver linings. Nine of us on the team were named Mike, including the only really good ballplayer who was the coach's son. And the coach himself was one of the gentlest, most beautiful characters I've ever met. When we actually tied a game once, I'm not sure how, he treated us as if we'd won the World Series and took us out for ice cream and celebration.

About thirty-five years later, I joined a gay softball team that was somewhat delusional about their playing abilities and was in the wrong division, which meant over the course of two years we also lost every game, but tied one, which we also treated like the winning 7th game of the World Series.

The second time around, however, it wasn't painful, it felt holy. In the process I made a few lifelong friends and found a partner. Life has all kinds of weird lessons.

Kevin Wolf

The opposing coach oughta be ashamed of himself. All the moreso because he isn't ashamed.

Bill Altreuter

Prepare for years more of this sort of thing, Lance. It's worse when the poor sportsmanship comes from the parents of the the kids that play on your kid's team, which is what I witnessed last weekend when I went with my duaghter's rugby team to a tournament. It was far from universal, and to their credit most of the kids recognized this as embarassing behavior, but there were way too many parents who had way too much emotional investment in their kids' game. I would have thought that this would correlate with a paucity of sporting experience on the part of the parents, but I can't say that my research on this question is anything but preliminary.

I'd say the solution is to encourage proper sporting behavior in one's own child, then watch as the culture spreds. Sportsmanship spreads laterally from what I've seen.


Went through the same thing. First year of tackle football, my team went 0-10-1. And we didn't have a legitimate excuse like being undersized, we just weren't that good, bless us. And like those above, we treated the tie like a huge victory. This was over 30 years ago, and there were a-hole parents then, and always will be.

But, your kid knows his dad ain't one. That's better than a win any day.

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