Monday, February 25, 2013

Youth Basketball: Feel Good Story

My last post was about some poor sportsmanship from a dad. This story about good sportsmanship more than makes up for the poor actions of a mis-guided dad.

In this story, a high school senior with some developmental issues scores a basket at the buzzer and the assist came from an unlikely player.

The Main Point

This blog is about the good, the bad and the ugly. This is the good side of youth sports.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Youth Sports: Stupid Immature Parent

Crazy Youth Sports Parent Alert. You are not going to believe this one.

What do you think about the ACE cheer in girls volleyball?

If you have ever watched girls volleyball you know that, the players on the court form a circle and on girls on the bench stand up in a line and they all do a coordinated cheer after each service ACE. My daughter's team stomps their feet right, left, right three times while they spell out A-C-E. Then they lift their right leg, clap their hands under their leg and then immediately raise their hands upward while pointing their index finger.

I have to admit. The first time I witnessed the ACE cheer, I thought it was unsportsmanlike. I know that if a HS pitcher did a strike out cheer after each strike out, he would get a ball in the earhole during his next at bat. But after, seeing the cheer from almost every team, in every tournament, I now accept it as part of the game. I came to realize that the girls are celebrating an accomplishment, they are not celebrating the other team's failure.

Volleyball ACE Cheer
Last night, my daughter's CYO volleyball team was matched up against an inferior team who had a tremendous amount of trouble digging and passing serves. Our team is loaded with really strong servers who happen to hit the ball very hard and make the ball move side to side unexpectedly, much like a knuckleball in baseball.

In the first game, our girls recorded 13 aces and 13 cheers in a 15-2 rout. The line judge on our team's side of the court was the dad of one of the girls on the opposing team. His blood boiled with each cheer. After about 10 cheers, he had had enough and did his own cheer. He yelled out, "S-T-U-P-I-D Stupid."

What?!? That did not really just happen. What kind of example does that set for his girl, for any of the girls?

My wife, the assistant coach, confronted him immediately. She asked. "You didn't just call 6th grade girls stupid did you?" He gave her a mischievous smirk and said yeah. The head coach jumped up and had a few private words with this jerk. She let him know that they were not happy. My wife and the head coach decided against a request for a new judge because the game was so lopsided.

Later in the night, this jerk was watching one of our games against another team. He sat in the front row just a few feet from our servers. He was cheered several times M-I-S-S Miss. Unbelieveable.

The last game of the night, our team won 15-0 with 14 aces from our first server. The 7th ace, was a rocket that just cleared the net, then dove downward. The serve caught a girl right in the face and bloodied her nose. Our team did not cheer on that serve or any other one after that. There is a time to celebrate and a time to win quietly.

The Main Point

Don't be a jerk, especially at a Christian athletic event, because the dads in the stands who are far away from your antics might not be all knowing, but God is.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Youth Volleyball: 23 Things I learned at my First JO Tournament

My daughter recently gave up AAU basketball to concentrate on soccer and volleyball. So I went to our first Junior Olympic Volleyball Tournament this weekend. This is what I observed.

  1. JO Volleyball tournaments may only be one day events, but they are long and grueling - we arrived at 7am and left at 6pm. 
  2. Teams in a 12 team event are guaranteed 4 matches.
  3. Each game lasted about 20-30 minutes. (Blowout matches might last 40. Closely contested back and forth matches can last 90+ minutes)
  4. The teams warm up for about 30 minutes prior to each match - even if the team is competing in the 5th match of the day. This makes no sense to me. The 11 hour event could have been cut down considerably.
  5. Unlike, basketball or soccer, there is only one set game time. The first game of the day on each court is established then the preceding matches follow immediately after the match prior concludes. Some matches last 40 min and others last 90, so games times cannot be set. 
  6. Girls volleyball uniforms are ridiculously tight.
  7. Sadly, there are a lot of overweight 12 and 13 year old girls.
  8. The players are assigned to officiate the games they are not playing in. (They line judge, keep score and they work as the down ref.)
  9. The up ref (the one on the ladder) is a paid experienced ref.
  10. Considering that most of the officiating is done by the players, I am not sure why volleyball is so much more expensive than basketball and soccer.
  11. The young refs and line judges made a few mistakes, but all in all they did well for 12 year old kids. 
  12. Thankfully, the fans went easy on the young judges. Our parents were warned prior to the season.
  13. The first two games of a three game match are rally scored to 25.
  14. The third game of a three game match is played with standard scoring to 15. (Only the serving team can score.)
  15. You can missed the excitement of a nail biter third game if you think that it goes to 25. In the first match that went to three games, our team came back from a 11-14 deficit to win 16-14. I watched calmly thinking that we needed 9 more points.
  16. Playing time is not distributed equally. My daughter played in about 10.5 of the 12 games. One girl, who really struggles, only played in 5 games. Her parents were pissed.
  17. Volleyball parents are just like soccer, football, softball, baseball and basketball parents. They too complain about the coaches, the refs, the facilities, the length of the events, the playing time, etc.
  18. Spikes are exciting, but I think that back row digs are awesome and seem to get the loudest fan reaction.
  19. Some kids can pay attention on each and every play and some kids are in la la land on most plays. (The rule that a player must hit the ball before it hits the ground is lost on a quite a few of the girls.)
  20. Girls develop at different ages. Some of the 11-12 year old girls looked like they could be in 4th grade (my daughter) and others looked like they were juniors in high school.
  21. Youth sports facility food is terrible. (NO OUTSIDE FOOD PERMITTED)
  22. All the players of a team must stay even after the team is eliminated if a few of the girls are assigned to ref a later game. Our team made it to the final four this weekend. We met a strong team in the semi finals. We, of course, wanted to win, but if we had to lose, then we wanted to lose before the other semi-final loser lost. The last semi-final team to lose had to ref the finals.  Thankfully, we lost 2 minutes before the other semi-final team, so I was able to get home just in time for the kickoff of the Superbowl. The dads from the other losing team and the 2 finalist teams were not as lucky.
  23. The ball always finds the weakest player on the court.
The Main Point

Volleyball is fun to watch if the teams are good and the rallies are long. Volleyball is pure torture if a team is struggling. Our team did pretty well, but 12 games of volleyball over 11 hours is not for the weak.




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