Letter to the editor — Aug. 15

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 15, 2019

Little League — winning at all costs?

Because of my involvement in sports since I was six years old as a player, umpire and spectator, I have had the opportunity to observe people from several different angles. I have seen coaches that will cheat to win, coaches that will bend the rules to win and coaches that will only play their best players in order to win.

Nobody is more competitive that I am when I get on a ballfield. I give 110% effort, and when my team fails or I fail, it bothers me for days. But, I realized early on that winning is not the most important thing, especially if you have to lie, cheat or steal to obtain it.

Sports have taught me more about life than any one thing except my church. Important values like discipline, being on time, being unselfish, sacrificing your own statistics for the good of the team, teamwork, giving your best effort and sportsmanship. Values that I use every day in my home and work life.

It disappoints me, especially in a Little League setting, when I hear people say that winning is the most important thing, especially in the All-Star competition. They feel that it is fair to let the team’s superstar miss several of the practices and still start the superstar. What kind of twisted logic is that? Dean Smith had a team rule that anyone who was late for practice did not start the next game, even if your name happened to be Michael Jordan. You may sit out two minutes, 10 minutes or an entire game depending on the severity of your tardiness. Dean Smith believed that no one individual was more important that the entire team. Do you guess that may be why he is one of the greatest coaches in the history of college basketball?

Pay close attention the next time you attend a Little League game. Watch out for the people that believe in winning at all costs. Once you spot them, if I were you, I would take my kid and run as fast as I could the other way.

— Richard Bethune
Clemmons

Bethune is former treasurer and chief umpire of the Southwest Forsyth Little League.