Sunday, April 1, 2012

Youth Sports: Losses that Really Matter

March is over. Thank God. March was marked by some painful loses that clearly out weighed any and all wins this month. There's no greater loss than a parent losing a kid.

  • Crazy youth sports parents get upset when their little star drops in the batting order.
  • Crazy youth sports parents get upset when their little star gets cut from a team.
  • Crazy youth sports parents get upset when their little star gets fouled, but the ref doesn't call it.
  • Crazy youth sports parents get upset when their little star has to miss a game due to an injury.

I have been upset by all of the above at one time or another. Do you know what is really upsetting - read on.

On March 8th, a 19 year old kid named Jake died in a car accident. Jake's car, for reasons never released to the public, drove left of center and hit an oncoming car head on. Jake was not wearing a seat belt and died in the accident. My 19 year old son used to play soccer with Jake. And for years, I coached side-by-side with Jake's dad. Jake was not the greatest soccer player, but he was a super nice kid who always had a smile on his face. Jake's dad was not the most knowledable soccer coach, but would do anything for the kids and the soccer club.

On March 18th, a former colleague of mine lost his teen son named Collin. Collin was suppose to be sleeping over at a friend's house, but he went to an all night party instead. At 4 am, Collin, distraught about a breakup with a girlfriend, decided to walk home. Collin's home was 5 miles away down a four lane 50 MPH road. A 23 year old guy driving home from work hit Collin. The driver, who may have fallen asleep at the wheel, thought he hit a deer. Collin was tossed over the guard rail and disappeared down an steep embankment covered with underbrush. Collin's dad, Sean, and many many people from the community searched for days before they discovered the sad sad truth.

Collins death really hit home for me. Sean and I had a lot in common. We both loved our kids, youth sports and coaching. Furthermore, we bonded listening to each other's many stories about our not-so-easy-to-parent oldest kids.

Collin's dad, my friend, issued the poignant statement to parents of teens.

The Main Point

Listen, if you can watch your kid play sports, win or lose it should be considered a great day. Some youth sports parents will never see their kids at all, let alone see them play some somewhat meaningless sports event.

More on gaining perspective regarding losses.

This month, my daughter CC started her AAU basketball and select soccer seasons. The anticipation for both seasons were damped by two loses before the seasons even began.

CC's AAU basketball team lost their center and a key power forward.  These players left to join a new AAU team that was forming. The power forward was easily replaced, but the center is no ordinary player. The center is an athletic, game changing, 6' 2" 5th grader who can certainly lead a team to an AAU National Championship. Her mom played in 3 NCAA Final Fours so that is not an exaggeration. 

The best player on my daughter's select soccer team decided to leave the team right before the spring season started so that she could concentrate on basketball. Ironically, she joined the same AAU basketball team that the 6' 2" center joined. The top athletes always seem to travel in the same circles.

There were more than a few people very upset by losing these players. The loss of Collin and Jake puts these loses into perspective.

I know and respect both families and know that they are doing what they think is best for their kids. So I was never got upset by the situation. I was, however, disappointed.

The newly formed basketball team with my daughter's former teammates beat my daughter's team in the AAU Super Regional Tournament this weekend. Both teams qualified for the Nationals.  


  1. A 10-year-old girl is 6'2" tall? Riiight.

    I get that she is way taller than your daughter, but Stats Dad you ought to be ashamed of yourself, practically drawing that poor (5'2") center onto the pages of a comic book.

  2. Sorry - but I am not exaggerating. Check out the pictures on

  3. Oops! I thought the center you were talking about was the girl in the picture, blocking your daughter's shot. She does not look anywhere near 6'2" tall.

    Regretting the loss of two pivotal athletes, I figured you had penned this one in caricature - a collegiate athlete amongst middle schoolers...

    I was trying to be equally lighthearted about it, not to question your sincerity. I am sorry if I did not come across that way.

  4. No worries - thanks for reading - That girl my daughter is shooting over is 5'8" in 5th grade - a full foot taller than my daughter, who is smart enough to do a pull up jumper with that defender in the lane.

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