How to Teach Good Sportsmanship
Yesterday my team was playing a U9 game. With a runner on third a wild pitch was thrown. The ball bounced toward third base side of backstop. The runner ran home in an effort to score. My catcher retrieved the ball and lunged at the base runner attempting a tag. I was on the third base side dugout and could see he missed the tag by 4-6." The umpires view was obscured by the action and called the runner OUT! After the dust settled my catcher (my son) turned to the umpire and said "I did not tag him." The umpire reversed his call and called the runner safe. How should I have handled this with my catcher. My assistant coaches seemed upset that the kid disclosed what he did to the umpire as did some parents whose kids are on my team. The other team, of course, was very complimentary that the kid handled it the way he did. What do you think? Tim Perry
Unless we are just giving lip service to what we are trying to do at this level, I have to say that the catcher has his head on straight. Certainly if the coaches and fans expressed their displeasure in a way that the players heard it, a group of young men received some conflicting ideas. Possibly you could commend the catcher for his sense of honesty and good sportsmanship but also explain that the umpire has a job to do and he does it. Sometime he misses calls but he doesn't mean to. As your son continues to play, he will probably see that the breaks even out. He will benefit and suffer from good and bad calls. If that were my son I would be proud of him and tell him so.