Sports… sometimes you get the calls, sometimes you don’t. After all, sports are refereed by people and no one can see everything every time. So, should those missed calls determine games? Or should the players self referee and speak up if they did or didn’t do something? Are the players being dishonest if they don’t speak up? And what are we teaching our children when we accept those types of calls??????

Our sport is volleyball. My daughter had the opportunity to play up in a tournament with a new coach. I cannot recall seeing a coach, or assistant coach, go so out of their way to make sure we lost a point when our server stepped on the service line. At first it seemed so odd to me. Isn’t that part of the game? Sometimes a line judge misses that you stepped on the line and you get that point. Sometimes they call a ball in that was out and you don’t get that point. It kind of all evens out in the end, doesn’t it? Well the more I saw this in action, the more I loved and appreciated the positive example they were setting.

Did we earn it?

At the end of the game, I’d like to think that we earned the “W”. Yes, sometimes you will play teams that are not playing well and just give you the game, but that’s not the same as playing a team that earns a point but doesn’t get it.

What are we teaching our players?

What are we teaching our players if it’s win at all cost? Is compromising our values worth the game? We should be teaching our children honesty, integrity, and getting that “W” isn’t the be all and end all. It’s how you play the game. It’s a value my daughter brought back to her team. I am so proud of my athlete when she makes a touch on the ball that ends a play, she immediately steps up and signals a touch, whether the line judge saw it or not. She’s a very black/white, right/wrong kid and it’s bad karma to get a point you didn’t earn. I am proud when she imparts this behavior on to her teammates and they start doing the same. We are, after all, raising not only athletes but adults who should live their lives with integrity.

Sports Integrity from Parents?

We played a tournament at Big South. While our coach was calling service spots, a parent from the opposing team was sitting on our side and relaying what the coach called. When approached and asked to stop, this parent didn’t seem embarrassed or remorseful in the least. What concerns me about this is his behavior is teaching an entire team of girls that it’s okay to gain an unfair advantage over your opponent in the pursuit of the win. It also concerns me that their coach, which represents their club, didn’t admonish the parent. Yes, its possible she didn’t know, but either way, it reflects badly on their club. Were we in gold bracket and playing for a Nationals bid? No, we didn’t play well day 1 and were actually in a pretty low bracket, but would that have made a difference? Integrity is what you do no matter what’s on the line.