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 > Little League Online > Learn More > Newsletters > Fairball Newsletters > 2012 > Fairball - March 2012 > Teaching Lifes Lessons

Teaching Lifes Lessons

Winning is a pleasant by-product of competition.

The responsibility of the Manager and Umpire includes developing the character of the young men and women as well as their playing ability. Educating young people includes how to handle adversity, maintaining grace in victory and dignity in defeat, and respect for the opponent as a fellow athlete and human being. There is no place in Little League for intimidation, humiliation or any other disrespectful or unsportsmanlike action towards each other, opponents or officials.

Losing provides the opportunity to teach important life lessons to everyone.

Managers must realize and teach players that losing is a part of the game and as long as everyone has done their best, it means that they just lost to a better team that day. They should also teach players that everyone mistakes from time to time. How they respond to calls on the field that go against their team will go a long way toward shaping their character.

It is solely the responsibility of the manager of the team to hold the umpires accountable for issues of safety and fairness. It is how they handle themselves in cases of adversity that teach players how to deal and handle difficult situations. Coaches and Umpires should be aware that players from both teams are watching how adults handle themselves and that their position as role models determines what the players learn from these experiences.

Umpires may have varying levels of tolerance for different situations. How they control each situation depends on experience and maturity. They must show respect to the manager and remain in control of every situation. If the situation develops into an ejection, the result must be controlled, calm and professional.

Sportsmanship is a crucial attribute that everyone must develop.

Umpires are the authoritative figures and have an equal, if not greater responsibility to that of the managers for modeling good sportsmanship. Competition may compromise managers from time to time, but the umpire must maintain control at all times. All adults must be role models and educators of character for the players.

The role of the umpire is to provide fairness for all player’s managers and coaches. They should be in control and acting with a calm behavior and setting the example for everyone on the field.

Finally

Our society is becoming increasingly tolerant of profanity on the playing field. Little Leaguers must be taught against this disturbing trend. Any bad language or unsportsmanlike conduct should not be tolerated! Managers, players and umpires must refrain from these actions, hold each other accountable, and set the example for everyone on and off the field.

Bill Carter
West Region Umpire in Chief