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Rotary Fun & Life Lessons

By Staff | Jan 30, 2019

Thanks to the New Martinsville Rotary for once again organizing an excellent day of high school basketball at Magnolia High School, on Saturday, Jan. 26. Four girls teams competed, and eight boys teams matched up in the annual Rotary Challenge, an all-day event. It happens every year and is worth attending every game. The hospitality was fantastic; the food was great, but the chance to watch six games in one day was the best.

The ancient proverb “Skin for Skin” seems to imply that, if you come right down to it, man is selfish and self-centered and will always sacrifice someone else’s skin to save his own, even his own family.

Clearly, not all suffering falls into that category, but it’s certainly the direct cause for many unwarranted wrongdoings.

The best example of overcoming the tricks of the wicked, is to cover your own (skin). Make sure what you say and do is correct. Think before you speak or act; it’s a huge undertaking, but worthy of the investment. We all have a tendency to jump to hasty conclusions based on only partial evidence.

I have never rejoiced in the discomfort of others, nor have I ever feared the tyranny of the mob. My way of life has always been to work and earn my substance – not by taking bribes or some other unethical way of getting ahead. I was taught at an early age to never exploit the poor, widows, fatherless, or any other sort of disadvantaged person. To the contrary, I was taught to share my goods and food, and I believe all men will be judged concerning this very matter.

In the meanwhile, be careful not to fall into the ditch someone has made for you. It is disturbing to say the least, when the never-do-bad guys stand idle while the disadvantaged suffer. Just last week while listening to the local know-it-all, tell-it-all at the gossip table downtown, I was reminded of what was once said to a group of intellects who spoke highly of themselves. “Thou Hypocrite.”

His concern to criticize others is marred by uncritical moral complacency as to his own life. The mistake in this context is the darkness in his mind, and thus, how great is that darkness. I suggest many should carefully consider d. For I think we will all answer to that one.

Sounds like a sermon, doesn’t it? However, it’s relevant in the sports world today, especially if you’re in the field of education.

There once was a man who was successful in the field of coaching, (at least as far as winning was concerned). His dedication to sports was the very essence of his life. He lived and breathed the life of coaching, nothing else mattered or compared to the high he felt when winning a ballgame. Losing was not an option! The feelings of young children played second fiddle to his own selfishness. It was his way or no way, and his way turned many against sports participation. As a middle school coach, who had no business coaching. He wanted to win so bad, he lined up a group of sixth graders, played quarterback himself and threw passes to the smallest kids on the field with instructions for the larger seventh and eight graders to hit them when the ball touched their hands. It was what he called “toughening them up.”

I believe that was the downfall of football for that community. Needless to say, not one of those sixth graders ever played football again.

He was also the basketball coach. He knocked two windows out of the middle school while throwing his tempter tantrums. He called the kids names and sent several home crying.

Can great sports coaches really set a good example for the youth of today? I say yes, but only if your heart is in the right place and only if your coaching includes teaching, discipline and order. Above all, it must be worthy of your calling. As a coach you must accept the fact that you don’t have all the answers, not all of them, for it’s impossible to please everyone, including your players. I watched a couple years back as the top-ranked team in the state, with the top player, came to Paden City – highly favored to go home with a lopsided win. As it often happens in sports, the evident did not occur. The Wildcats had a two-point lead with one second on the clock; the favorite was beaten. They had to go the length of the court or hit the impossible shot. It happened! A three-quarter length of the floor throw hit nothing but net, giving the visitors a one-point victory as time expired. You can’t coach those type of things.

So, as a coach, what do you do? You go back to the basics. You feed your team with instructions. You give them meat to eat and clothes to wear. You visit them, with a time-out, you minister to them with quality coaching. What never should happen is rejection based on mistakes, or lack of compassion for those in need – whether it be hunger, poor, homeless, sick, or imprisoned. I would not allow kids to play for coaches who begin to curse and swear, and have emotional outbursts intended to make him appear, in his own mind, as a coach and an educator.

It’s been a pleasure the past two weeks to watch more than 20 local high school basketball games and not see one act of arrogance from the coaches. The same can’t be said for the core group at the coffee shop. eparsons@tylerstarnews.com