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TheSpec – A “fair play” dispute led to a full-blown protest at a minor league basketball tournament Sunday afternoon. And in the end, nobody got to play. A team of 10-year-old Windsor Warriors and their families circled centre court at Cathedral High School, carrying signs made out of pizza boxes (signs the kids say their parents made them) to demand “fair play.”
Windsor mom Shantelle Browning-Morgan said the tournament was “unjust.” “If you set a precedent on Friday night, you should stick to that,” she said. “It is about the children. They are our next generation … absolutely, it’s unfair to (the other teams), but you have to stand up for something when you know it’s right. You have to be inconvenient.”
But tournament convener, John Rocchi, said it was a “classic case of ‘win at all costs.’”
Here’s what happened: the Warriors played — and won — the semifinal game against the St. Catharines Rebels Sunday morning. But after that game, they say the Rebels’ coach complained to the convener that the Warriors weren’t giving their players equal court time, as per the rules. Rocchi said these new rules stem from the Canada Sports 4 Life model, which offers “modified rules” for younger leagues in order to promote fun and “de-emphasize winning.”
Rocchi said there were 138 teams playing in this weekend’s tournament, and while there were many other cases of confusion like this, no one else responded like the Windsor contingent. He said he “feels for them,” but thinks competition gets the best of parents. You’re getting five games, a T-shirt and a medal. Who cares what colour the medal is?”
The next time a team loses to the Miami Heat because LeBron plowed through them in the lane and got “fouled,” I want them to do this before their next game with them. Picket it. Take it to the streets.
So let me get this straight…..In this league, winning isn’t really emphasized right? OK, I get that. They’re trying to get kids to have equal amounts of playing time because it’s a developmental league. I actually have no problem with that at all. I think kids learn a lot from losing, but with this system, they can still feel the agony of defeat while having a chance to develop their skills. The bench kids don’t learn how to play the game. It makes ZERO sense to have the terrible ten year old riding the pine. That pretty much guarantees he’s gonna be a terrible eleven year old too.
But, if winning doesn’t really matter in this league, then why is the Rebels’ coach complaining to the officials that the other team played too many minutes? Because he hates losing, that’s why. The fact that the kids he coached all had a good time and went out for ice cream shakes afterward clearly isn’t enough for this guy. No, he has a blood thirst for winning, and if you keep your good kids in there too long, he’ll report your ass to the Dean if that’s what it takes to get the W.
Seriously though, I don’t see this as wussification of America. Quite frankly if you go to your ten year old kid’s game and you’re heavily invested in anything except making sure your kid doesn’t dribble the ball off his face, then you have a problem. Under no circumstances should you ever care about the outcome of a game played by a bunch of kids who are there because their parents are making them.
The real winners here are the kids who took it to streets yesterday. Exercising their free speech rights like you read about. This kids might be Canadian, but they’re American heroes in my heart and mind.
P.S. Now that I think about it, ten years old is pretty old. In Mexico they would be veteran drug mules by now. I think they can handle losing and the agony of the bench. I really was imaging seven year olds picketing when I read this. Totally didn’t realize how much bigger ten year olds are. I take back everything I said except that the kids are outright legends.
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