It's time to learn some lessons

As I've mentioned many times before, shooting sports is more than a profession to me. Being on the sidelines, in the dugout, or along the baseline, the events offer a window for me see and experience a myriad of things. Sometimes it's almost like watching a movie. And times the window reveals the many sides of human behavior - some good things, some bad things.

Yesterday I drove over 1 1/2 hours away from home to shoot a Middle School semifinal basketball game. The school is in a rural area of the state. Overall the school is small and the gym, well, as soon as I stepped into the gym I felt that I was on the movie set of the movie "Hoosiers." You know, the movie starting Gene Hackman as coach Normal Dale, a failed college coach that gets a chance at redemption when he is hired to direct the basketball program at a high school in a tiny Indiana town.

If you haven't seen the movie watch it - it's entertaining and it provides several life lessons (plus it'll make this post easier to understand).

An iconic part of the movie is the gym. When I walked in the Middle School gym it was deja vu all over again.

Google "Hoosier movie gym" and I think that you'll agree. I mean the gym is small with spectators standing along the court a foot away from the action. Although this vantage point gave spectators a great view of the action, it also gave them an intimate connection to the players and the play on the court. Often, the connection was not a good one.

The Middle School "remake of Hoosiers" continued to be played out. The fans were yelling at the refs EVERY minute (yes, both sides) - NOTE to Self" "don't ever become a ref for school sports." Someone through an empty Power-Aide drink bottle onto the court. Parents yelling at coaches on what to do and how to do it.

The game was close. It was a semifinal game and the teams were fairly evenly matched. As the clock ticked down, the fans got more raucous, and the play became so chaotic and sloppy that it was like watching a train wreck.

The main lesson of the Hoosier movie was that coach Dale learned that winning isn't everything. That being an example, a mentor, for young men so that they can develop strong character and self worth is far more important than winning a game. After all, it's only a GAME.

Let the kids PLAY because it's a GAME. Show them, by example, how to be a good looser and more importantly, a good winner.

Until next time, be kind, be safe, and be like coach Norman Dale.