In November, we asked our NYSCA coaches to share their Stories of Sportsmanship by posting them on our Facebook page
. We received an outpouring of stories that illustrates the influence volunteer youth sports coaches have on their players – as well as the overwhelming impact youngsters can have on their coaches. From teaching aspects of sportsmanship to supporting their players’ own initiative to play a fair game, coaches teach youngsters skills they need both on and off the field, court or rink.
Here are a few of our favorite posts:
Coach Josie R. (Athens, Ga.)
I was fortunate enough to coach the U-6 girls team this season. We were called the Flames and the team was on fire for every game! The best part of the season, for me, was watching their love for soccer grow. I love soccer and play it collegiately! There was one girl on my team who was super reserved and timid but her teammates never stopped passing her the ball... Even though she wasn't a star, they believed in her. One day, she had the ball passed to her and it was stolen by the other team almost immediately. Instead of having a bunch of frustrated 6 year olds demand to play instead of her, I witnessed her teammates start clapping and shouting, "Go Elsie! Go! Get it back! You can do it!" I teared up a little before joining in myself. After that game, I watched Elsie grow to be one of the best and most aggressive players on our team, all because her teammates never gave up on her. Confidence is key – no matter how old you are.
Coach Kenneth K. (Charleston, S.C.)
The most rewarding time in my coaching career came last spring in 10U baseball. I coached a player from Jamaica (special needs). He didn't touch the ball all season when he came to the plate...not even close. We were playing one of my great friends and fellow coach in the last game. Miraculously the boy hit a slow roller to first base and beat it out. The entire stands and dugout on both sides went crazy. The other coach was on the third base side and he told me to give him the steal sign. Not knowing if he would get the signal, I gave it anyway. Lo and behold, he took off on the pitch and was safe at second on an "overthrow" and jumped up to advance to third. Coincidentally, on another "overthrow" he went home and scored his first run ever – AND THE CROWD WENT WILD! Best display of sportsmanship I have witnessed so far.
Coach David R. (Hickory, N.C.)
I coach youth baseball in Hickory, N.C. I helped coach our 10U All-Star team this past summer to a 4th place finish in the state. The other coaches and I were very adamant from the start that we wanted the players to not only do their best and give 110%, but to constantly communicate and encourage one another. The way the team came together was very rewarding as a coach. The encouragement and selflessness the players showed throughout the local area, and state tournaments made us all very proud. One of the hardest things as a coach is to have to sub players – especially at the all-star level – but we had several players (Tanner, Chance, and Jake) that came to us before game time on several occasions to offer to not start so others could get more playing time. Now that's not only being a team player, but a display of sportsmanship and leadership at its best! So did we come together as a team? Absolutely! These kind of team bonds and friendships last a lifetime. And that is what team sports is all about.
Coach Demetrius T. (Rittman, Ohio)
I helped coached our sophomore (9-10 year old) football league this year for the first time. We were in our last game of the season and the kids hadn’t won a game yet; however, this last game our boys came out and played hard. It looked as if we were finally going to win our last game 13-0. When the 4th quarter came around the coach for the other team informed our director that they had a special needs child on their team helping out all year on the sideline since he couldn’t play, and they would like for us to make time AFTER the game to let him score. However, us coaches and our boys decided to let this young man make a touchdown that actually counted. Our boys pretended to chase this young man down and let him score a touchdown AND the extra point without a single complaint. We as coaches were so proud of these young men. I will never forget that game. They displayed true sportsmanship that day.
Coach Patrick S. (Seattle, Wash.)
My ultimate coaching experience was a sportsmanship moment for one of my teams, not an individual. We had two games left in the basketball season and only one player had yet to score a basket. Throughout the game, my players kept feeding him the ball but every shot was missed or he was fouled in the act (no free throws). In the final period, they fed him again...he shot, missed, rebounded, shot, missed, rebounded, shot missed, rebounded, he was fighting for every board, three defenders all over him, but he would not give up. He shot it again and finally it went in. The whole team forgot about the game to run up and high five and hug him...while I was having to follow my cheers with screams of, "Get back on defense!" The joy on his face from the support he got from his team and their genuine euphoria at his success hooked me forever on coaching.