Thursday, August 17, 2006

Basketball vs. Volleyball part II

This is a follow on to yesterdays posting: Basketball More Important Than Volleyball

I was looking up some information on the web today and I ran across the Burroughs Basketball web site.

Part of the this site included the Basketball Team’s Philosophy statement.

I found some of their philosophy to be incredibly hypocritical:

All players must understand their role as a member of our team. It is because of this our veteran players have a critical role on the team. Their experience, knowledge, and maturity must set a positive example for the incoming players in games and practice. Veteran players must realize their conduct and attitude sets an example, so they must be exemplary in the classroom and on campus as well as on the court. Veteran players must instill confidence in younger players to help the team excel at the varsity level. By believing in each other, realizing their collective responsibility, having pride in their team and school and possessing respect for authority, and each other, the foundations of a successful program can be built.

They put so much emphasis on the critical role that their veterans must play in the development of their younger players. The Basketball Team's desire for regular off season practices led to the decision to move the freshmen volleyball team practices off campus This denies them the same thing the basketball team values so highly – the leadership and assistance of their veteran players. Burroughs Administration has decided to isolate the freshman volleyball team away from their classmates, their teammates and their school. Next year this freshman team will be expected to integrate into and become a part of the Junior Varsity or Varsity teams. Unfortunately they will have to do so as total strangers having been denied the opportunity to work with, practice with, get to know, and to learn from those veteran players.

Other parts of the basketball team philosophy shed a lot of light on how a coach could allow the school he works for cripple another sports team at his school for the benefit of his own sport.

In basketball one has a duty to team, school, and to ones self. Players and coaches should do their duty in all things. One cannot do more. One should never do less. Because of our commitment to our program we must remember our ultimate principle: After the last horn, after the last game only the team remains.

I love the priorities of the first sentence – team, school and ones self. The team is placed above all else. At first I thought that they surely meant only during the games and practices. But apparently once the game is over there is nothing left except the team.

I work in conjunction with the school to teach my volleyball players a much different set of priorities. During practice and during games I expect “the volleyball team” to be their main priority. But off the court I expect my player’s priorities to be – faith, family and friends.

First off is their faith, because without their faith then all else they do is meaningless. Secondly their family - parents, siblings, and other family need to be the foundation of their lives. The mutual support of their family will carry them further in life than any sports team ever will. Friends is a broad category that includes their teammates, classmates, neighbors, community, state and country.

Notice I don’t include “self” in these priorities. If a person takes care of these three priorities they will take care of themselves in the process. Growth in their faith, academics, social and physical skills and their development as loving members of a family will help my athletes take care of their family and friends. As they take care of their family and friends, their family and friends will help take care of them.

I pity any student who is told there is nothing left except the team. A person who buys into that thinking is doomed to a lonely existence.

The basketball philosophy explains why a travesty like this could happen.

In basketball one has a duty to team, school, and to ones self.

Somewhere in the decision making process that led us to this situation the coach and the administration forgot that the school is made up of a lot more than 12 basketball players and two coaches. I also wonder if the administration has truely understood that this philosophy places the team above the school. I would be very uncomfortable supporting a team or coach that thought they were more important than the school as a whole.

No comments: