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Letter: 'Success' in athletics needs to be redefined

To the editor, 

Last week's editorial about parents second-guessing coaches was well-stated. Success in athletics has become so narrowly defined that if you don't win, you fail. By that criteria, more teams fail than succeed when it comes to conference titles, state championships and the like.

The ones truly being cheated are the young people who watch adults overreact, turn unreasonable, get angry and sometimes get verbal and physical over a game. In this highly competitive, morally declining atmosphere, coaches are also being cheated. They are losing the opportunity to pass along the love of a sport and being part of a cohesive team.

Let's redefine success in our gyms and rinks, and on our playing fields. Working hard, improving, being physically and mentally fit, having fun, learning teamwork and social skills are the markers of those who will go far in life. Those aspects are what memories are made of. Irate parents yelling from the sidelines and poor sportsmanship are not pleasant memories.

Such behavior is even more harmful, going so far as to be disabling to the young people witnessing it. Blame others. Don't accept responsibility. Forget that hard work is reward in itself.  Winning at any cost. 

Why would you want your son or daughter to walk away with those lessons?  That will not get them far in life. It will begin a pattern of the same behavior in college, with their bosses, in their marriage and so on.

If parents focus more on parenting and let coaches focus on the coaching, everybody wins. And everybody enjoys the game more.

Lisa Valentine