Let’s be clear, this was not the NCAA tournament, or even the NIT, this was the Lancaster Recreation League Midget Division Championship.
My son participated in our local recreation department basketball league. The age group is 9-11 and was a terrific experience for a kid who isn’t all that interested in sports to ease into it. The league consisted of 8 teams and has a nice format. Each team consists of 2 captains (two of the older boys) and did not have an actual ‘coach’. Some might question the lack of a coach, but it was really a terrific way to set it up for this level. There are too many adult coaches who interject themselves too much and get obsessed with winning rather than learning at this stage. Don’t get me wrong, I hate to lose, but at this entry level the format that brought the younger boys in slowly and laid the responsibility on the older boys was a terrific building block for the next step.
The captains are responsible for subs and making sure each player gets equal time. The responsibility assigned to the older boys was worth its weight in gold for them. I didn’t witness a single argument about playing time or substitutions. The captains were tasked with handing it out evenly and they did a terrific job. Our team captains deserve a lot of credit. I would call them out by name, but not all parents want to see their kids name on the web nowadays. Great job Jacob!
My son’s team had a captain who took his responsibility very seriously and even made sure every player scored during games where a cushion allowed it. As someone who is new to the game, my son was rather lost out there. The first few sessions of the league were instructional, but since he doesn’t watch the game on TV, he didn’t know what they were saying when they would shout “cut through”, or “set a pick at the top of the key”. He had a deer in the headlights kind of look at times, but he worked as hard as he could (amidst his confusion) to make sure he didn’t let his teammates down. He must have seen a Ray Lewis pep talk.
I am not sure if winning or losing is the best in terms of a learning experience at such a young age. My son participates in Tae Kwon Do and should be testing for his black belt this summer, however Tae Kwon Do doesn’t have a winner and a loser in the pursuit of your black belt. I hope that he doesn’t take the experience for granted and continues to build on it. My hope is that he is instilled with the winning feeling and never stops chasing it.