Last Saturday, the Jackson Optimist Boys' Basketball League ended another season. What should have been a chance for young boys to develop and practice basketball and sportsmanship skills was, once again, tainted by coaches who refused to play by the rules. It is a not-so-well-kept secret that several of the coaches have gotten creative in their efforts to win at all costs. Allegations of teams loaded with older children, coaches giving lower rankings to the best players so that more can be on one team, coaches changing the team rosters and deliberate late sign-ups so that the best players can be on one team have plagued this league.
As a parent, I have to wonder why some coaches feel this necessary. Ask almost any boy on any team, and he can tell you what teams are loaded with the best players and how some coaches cheat to win. Is this really the lesson we want to teach our youths?
The Optimists work hard to make this league possible. Many hours and dollars go toward planning and preparation. To this organization, I say thank you. To the coaches who don't play by the rules, I ask that you change or stop coaching. Your "victory above all else" motto is not what our youths need to learn. Finally, to the coaches who play by the rules and teach our boys what true sportsmanship is, I applaud you. Your lessons will serve our youths well in years to come.
KATHY HARRIS, Jackson