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Emily was crying by the time the softball game ended. It wasn’t because her team had lost. It wasn’t because she was unhappy about her own playing. It wasn’t even because of anything the other team had said or done. Emily’s tears came after her dad yelled at her – in front of all her teammates – for missing the fly ball that could have saved the game. Emily is just 8 years old.If your child has ever participated in a sport, you’ve undoubtedly met people like Emily’s dad, parents who behave inappropriately and upset their kids. These parents get so wrapped up in winning and losing or how well their own kids perform that they lose sight of what’s really important. They forget that one of the most important goals of kids’ sports is to promote a sense of good sportsmanship.Fostering good sportsmanshipRemember the saying “Actions speak louder than words?” That’s especially true when it comes to teaching your kids the basics of good sportsmanship. Your behavior during practices and games will influence them more than any pep talk or lecture you give them.Here are some suggestions on how to build sportsmanship in your kids:Unless you’re coaching your child’s team, remember that you’re the parent. Shout words of encouragement, not directions, from the sidelines.If you are your kid’s coach, don’t expect too much out of your own child. Don’t be harder on him or her than on anyone else on the team, but don’t play favorites either.Keep your comments positive. Don’t bad-mouth coaches, players or game officials. If you have a serious concern about the way games or practices are conducted, or if you’re upset about other parents’ behavior, discuss it privately with the coach or with a league official.After a competition, it’s important not to dwell on who won or lost. Instead, try asking, “How did you feel you did during the game?” If your child feels weak at a particular skill, like throwing or catching, offer to work on it together before the next game.Applaud good plays no matter who makes them.Set a good example with your courteous behavior toward the parents of kids on the other team. Congratulate them when their kids win.Remember that it’s your kids, not you, who are playing. Don’t push them into a sport because it’s what you enjoyed. As kids get older, let them choose what sports they want to play and decide the level of commitment they want to make.Keep your perspective. It’s just a game. Even if the team loses every game of the season, it’s unlikely to ruin your child’s life or chances of success.Look for examples of good sportsmanship in professional athletes and point them out to your kids. Talk about the bad examples, too, and why they upset you.Finally, don’t forget to have fun. Even if your child isn’t the star, enjoy the game while you’re thinking of all the benefits your child is gaining – new skills, new friend and attitudes that can help all through life.The above information is an excerpt of an article on, a Web site sponsored by the Nemours Foundation’s Center for Children’s Health Media. According to KidsHealth, Dr. Steven Dowshen reviewed this article for accuracy.At one of the basketball games in Colorado Springs this past season, an incident took place that involved one of my granddaughters, who is a flyer on the school cheer squad. Her school’s basketball team was undefeated, with 13 wins. During this particular game, the opposing team fell behind and didn’t know how to handle it.One of their players was tossed out because of unsportsmanlike conduct, and the crowd started booing officials and making a mess out of an organized high school sport.At the end of the game, one of the officials from the other school told my granddaughter’s cheer squad that it would be best if they went out the back door. Security would be there to get them safely to their bus. Later, my granddaughter told her mother that she was “scared to death.”I called the athletic director at the “other” school and was told they had no comment. However, the person on the phone said if they had known my granddaughter’s school was bringing the cheer squad, they would have hired extra security. What kind of a mindset is that!This incident reminded me of basketball games at the old Nebraska barn, when teams from Omaha would play in the state tourney. The police would be there in force with their dogs to help with crowd and player control. I thought those days were long gone, but some junior high schools close their ball games only to the players, coaches and officials. Who wants that?I think this article is appropriate to remind all of us about good sportsmanship.FALCON BASKETBALLFalcons vs. Cheyenne MountainThe last home game of the regular season was played to a nearly packed house. The Falcons took on Cheyenne Mountain in what ended in a very exciting game. Paul Rotering was the main man in the first quarter. With defensive rebounding, he scored 6 points with a minute and 20 seconds to go. Onorio Franco played his usual tough defensive game with a steal, 2 points and 2 assists. The quarter ended with the Falcons out in front 17-9.The Falcons kept the defensive pressure on in the second quarter, scoring another 16 points while holding Cheyenne Mountain to 9. Franco, Jordan Yates, John Kienast, Rotering, Lewis Bauman and Adam Link all shared in the scoring to go to the locker room at half, leading 33-18.In the third quarter, Cheyenne turned it up a notch, scoring 16 points while holding the Falcons to 6. At the start of the fourth quarter, the Falcons led 39-34. The fourth quarter saw plenty of offensive power on both sides, as the Falcons scored 18 and Cheyenne scored 17. Yates had the early hot hand by scoring 7 points. Neither team could put together a scoring string of more than 5 points. For the most part, they traded baskets. Link scored 2 of his 6 fourth-quarter points, with 10 seconds left.This last home game was probably one of the best games – against a very good opponent – that I watched all year. The Falcons are to be commended for a great regular season.There has been tremendous improvement within the basketball team. It seems that Coach Doug Ravasdy’s new basketball system, implemented this season, has been a real benefit to the team.See you at the next Vinnie Mac Sports Corner.This column does not necessarily represent the views of The New Falcon Herald.

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