It was a bad day on Friday for Indiana University basketball fans. Fortunately, for most of my readers, the resignation of head coach Kelvin Sampson didn’t really shake up your day too much.
On the other hand, PhilBillPaul and his mom had to talk at least three times Friday afternoon as they compared notes on what they were reading and hearing. When you are born and raised in Indiana and even after you move to Georgia (and Texas where his mom is), being an IU basketball fan is serious stuff!
We are big basketball fans at our house. Our kids started playing basketball when they were seven which, incidentally, is the age we decided to let them try a sport.
Side note: Unless you count when The Grunter was five and he participated in a one week soccer camp. He had absolutely no idea what to do, where to go or why we made him attend. It was because he was our firstborn experimental child and I had read an article about soccer being the best sport to start your child in–which may be true for many but wasn’t for him.
They all played baseball and softball for several years. Roger Leroy even tried diving her freshman year. The girls run cross country at their high school. Scary Baby just finished her second season of basketball at church. They all know how to play golf, bowl and we’ve had some fierce badminton tournaments in the backyard.
Okay, so you get the idea. They’ve been exposed to a variety of sports and we really are a basketball family.
Basketball has become the primary sport that they all love. I’m sure it has something to do with their dad loving it and coaching them. I was personally delighted because it is an indoor sport which means I don’t have to sit in the rain, sleet, freezing cold or blazing sun.
We are also an oddity among parents in our community. Our kids have always been allowed to pick only one extracurricular activity at a time in addition to their full-time job, which is being a student (for those of you who think we’re endorsing slave labor).
In terms of sheer time management, it was the only way we saw to manage our family, our relationship and our life. One of PhilBillPaul’s favorite lines is “We run the kids, they don’t run us.”
Back to this not being about basketball…
We’ve had some lively discussions over the weekend about the shake-up in Indiana and part of the team not showing up for practice and how and why all these things happened.
Bottom line for us: A coach is a teacher and mentor to the team and the players he works with. He has to be held to a higher standard because of his interaction with our kids. Just like a pastor or politician or any other leader.
When I say “our kids” I mean all of our kids – not just mine. I mean it in the sense of “it takes a village” and we are the village.
If the adults are not setting good examples for our kids then we are left with a society full of kids who think it’s okay to lie, cheat and ignore the rules that we are all suppose to abide by. If the coaches, who are suppose to be helping mold our kids into productive members of society, are breaking rules, then we need to hold their feet to the fire when they screw up.
Yes, everyone makes mistakes. (I don’t have enough time left in my life to write about all the mistakes I’ve made and will continue to make.)
Yes, I also believe in forgiveness.
But I also believe in common sense and like to use it especially when others seem to have lost theirs.
Kelvin Sampson let our kids down. Individually and collectively as a team. During a winning season, he let them down in a big way.
If you want the details of how he let them down and why he has been branded as a cheater, here’s an ESPN column with some strong opinions written by senior writer Pat Forde.
Or here is a Sports Illustrated story with less slant and more facts.
But back to our kids…
It is time now for all the adults involved with these student athletes to step up and support them as they learn this tough life lesson.
Adults they care about and love will let them down. While no one is perfect, the disappointment that comes when someone lets you down is never easy.
We all need to remind them of their own personal responsibility to surround themselves with role models and mentors and friends who walk the walk with honesty and have the courage to do what is right even when it’s not easy.
If Kelvin Sampson was the reason they chose Indiana University, then they need to find a new reason.
Our bigger message to our kids should be that we are here to help them grow into young men and women with character and integrity. And no one can ever take that away from them without their permission.
That message should be loud and clear in the media but unfortunately it usually isn’t the message we read..
Which really means that we all need to to make sure that message is repeated over and over in our own homes…
Meanwhile, it’s nice to meet another Indiana family here in Georgia.
This picture was taken after the girls earned first place in their basketball league championship and finished with an undefeated season. Woo-hoo!
PhilBillPaul, the girls and John, Lisa and Sharté Foy love to display their team colors whenever possible since we live in the land of
rabid lovely Bulldog fans who, coincidentally, wear the very same colors.
Life Lesson (LL): It’s never a wrong time to do the right thing. Thanks Uncle Doug. 🙂
Share a Life Lesson (SALL): Have you had an opportunity to teach your kids a lesson about doing the right thing using sports or a coach’s behavior as an example? Because it may not feel like a big deal but it is. When you do this, you are doing it for all of our kids. Do tell so I can publicly thank you!