Last week I was disgusted to observe the utter lack of sportsmanship displayed by a group of 11-12 year old girls during a Walton County Recreation basketball game. I have watched this team play two games, and during both, commit numerous deliberate fouls, including elbowing another player in the stomach and jabbing fingers into another player’s eyes. In one case a player shoved another player’s face hard enough to knock her to the floor. This incident resulted in numerous spectators jumping to their feet demanding answers. The coaches and parents from the offending team were defiant and defended the behavior. Sadly, the team in question fields some very skilled players, and would likely win all their games without having to resort to this type of conduct. Nevertheless they opt against sportsmanship, all the way to the final congratulatory “high-fives” at the end of the game, in which several of the team’s players refuse to participate, instead displaying a raised fist to their opponents. The league could certainly do more to enforce the rules of the game and educate the players as well as their coaches on the importance of civilized behavior on the court. What these girls learn in sports will be carried forward into all areas of their lives; they need to be taught respect for fair play and following the rules.
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