When I signed Anastasia up for softball, I did so with a few things in mind. One, she's a kid, she has never played before and I want her to have FUN with it, to develop a love for the game. Two, I wanted her to gain focus, discipline, learn to win, learn to lose, and to do it all with integrity. Three, I wanted her to make new friends and step outside her comfort zone. All of these are important, but reason two is THE most important one to me.
We have played this team twice (that I can remember). Twice they've beat us. They may have won, but our team was the REAL winner, because we maintained our integrity while they cheated and got away with it. When you are running bases, you can't run outside the baseline. No, you don't have to run ON the line, but you have to stay pretty close to it. The last time we played this team, their players were running out near the dugout or near the pitcher. They SHOULD have been out, but the ump didn't call it. The coach, KNOWING their player was breaking the rules, SHOULD have spoken up, as I know our coach would have. As I would have if I were coach. But he didn't.
This morning, we played them again. Again, they broke that rule, but they ALSO had a player fling her bat back once she hit the ball and the bat hit our catcher. We immediately spoke up, but nothing was done because the ump didn't see it. A mother from the other team started arguing that the kid didn't do that. If she didn't, then why was our catcher crying and rubbing her arm?
Yes, they are kids. But they need to learn right from wrong, they need to learn that cheating isn't the way to win. I don't feel that the other coach is teaching these kids that. These girls get out there and give it their all. Some of the girls play for another league as well. They started out having to go to school all day, then head to the field. It can be tiring. But the look on their faces when they win makes it worth it.
If you coach or plan to coach, keep this in mind. Winning with integrity is the best way to do it. And losing with integrity is a win in my book.