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Why quit?

January 9, 2012
Weirton Daily Times

"And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men." - Colossians 3:23

I will never understand why quitting is acceptable.


Kids, and their parents, have quit basketball teams right and left, along with wrestling teams and swim teams and, in the fall, football teams and volleyball teams.

And, the same will happen in the spring with baseball and softball teams, along with track and field teams.

And, I won't get it then, either.

There was no quitting when I grew up in youth sports.

I played football, basketball and ran track, and if I started, I finished.

There were no acceptable reasons for not finishing a season.

I never played Little League, although I put my name on a list one year after teams had been picked and was told I might get called to try out if needed.

A few weeks later I was called and told my mom I didn't want to go because I really didn't want to play.

She would have none of it, and neither would my father.

I was told to go to the tryout and do my best because, if I didn't, it wasn't fair to another kid who may have wanted to try out but didn't get picked.

My mom drove me, I tried out and did the best I could.

I did my best for two reasons - I was told to and my mom watched the whole thing.

I wasn't picked and life went on.

At what point in life did the rights of a player on a team outweigh what was best for the team?

One theory I have heard is that all the young adults in the late 1960s and early 1970s who marched and protested for all their "rights" eventually became parents and sometime around the mid-1980s their kids got into athletics and they continued to march and protest for the "rights" of their kids to play all the time, start every game, take every shot and be the center of attention.

And, now those kids are having kids.

I, personally, like that theory.

Whining about playing time are ya?

Make sure the child hasn't missed about a dozen practices for one reason or another.

Ask the child about practice - did the kid hustle in practice, cop an attitude or flaunt being a terrible teammate.

If your child isn't getting the right amount of shots during a basketball game, sit down, shut up and watch the game.

You don't like that your child is not allowed to serve during a volleyball game, tell them to work on it and get better.

You are not playing - your child is.

Oh, I forgot - you are playing through your child.

Your child is the inner you trying to break out and make a statement.

You start, you finish.

You don't like the coach or whatever, don't go out the next season.

If you are having a real problem with the coach, go through the proper channels to get it resolved.

There are times when a real problem arises that must be resolved.

Just resolve it the right way.

If you are on a team, you have no rights.

You have the right to remain silent, work hard with a great attitude and be a good teammate.

You have the right not to remain silent and be a really good leader.

You have the right to help the younger players on the team to get better so the team gets better.

But, really, those are not rights - those are privileges.

When did entitlement issues trump what's best for a team?

"A competitor will find a way to win. Competitors take bad breaks and use them to drive themselves just that much harder. Quitters take bad breaks and use them as reasons to give up. It's all a matter of pride." - Nancy Lopez

What happened to the steadfastness of doing what is in the best interest of the team?

When did selfishness replace selflessness?

Back in the day, poor grades on a report card meant the child had to work harder.

Now, that same report card means the teacher hates the kid and little Johnny or Suzy would never flunk tests due to a lack of effort and studying.

Since when are 20 goals more important than 20 assists?

I'll take dishing a sweet no-look pass for a layup over hitting a 15-footer any day.

I'll take 15 assists over 15 points in any game at any time.

When did it become a bad thing that your son was moved to right guard in youth football?

"But, he's a quarterback!"

No, mom, he's not.

We are living in a world where "Dance Moms," "Toddlers and Tiaras," the Real Housewives of some city, "Bridalplasty," "Teen Mom," anything Kardashian and "Jersey Shore" are the norm and, really folks, that is not good for our society.

Any selfishness in those shows?

Yeah, not much.

We have had a Jerry Springer-mentality too long and it has to end.

Believe it or not, winning a junior high basketball game means nothing more than losing a junior high basketball game.

The kids will still wake up the next day and go to school. The sun will come out and life goes on.

What is important is competing in the junior high basketball game.

You don't step foot on an athletic field based on if your team will win or lose.

If that's the case, Clemson would have stayed in the locker room at halftime last week.

If that's the case, Tampa Bay would have forfeited the last three quarters to Atlanta in Week 17 of the NFL season.

So, since Indian Creek lost to Big Red 68-13 last year in the football playoffs, coach Andrew Connor should just fold up shop?

Yeah, right.

What he has done is show the kids that hard work, effort and putting your teammates in front of yourself will work and will get you to your destination of Week 11.

Since Steubenville is 1-6 against Youngstown Cardinal Mooney, I guess coach Reno Saccoccia and the Big Red crew should just forfeit the next time they play the Cardinals. Since Big Red is 5-38-2 all time against Massillon, the coach should stop scheduling them, right?

We are selfish when we quit. We are saying we are more important than our teammates.

We are saying it's OK for those players to sit the bench, but not me.

How many families have roasted coach with their mashed potatoes and salad at the dinner table each night?

How many parents shake the coaches hand with the right and stab them in the back with the left?

Yep, too many.

When did competing, playing hard and doing your best become drastically less important than stats, playing time and being a starter?

I remember when Bobby Knight was the coach of the United States Olympic men's basketball team in 1984. They were practicing for a time at the University of San Diego. He held a press conference and was asked who his starters were going to be.

He basically said he didn't know and didn't care.

What he cared about was who the five players were going to be on the floor when the game was on the line.

If your child hasn't had a hit in two weeks, please do not be surprised when your child is being DH'd for.

If your child has hit two free throws in 10 attempts, please do not be surprised when your child is on the bench with a two-point lead and the game on the line.

We all need to grow up as a society. Anybody see what Santonio Holmes did at the end of the New York Jets loss to Miami at the end of the season?

He basically was kicked out of the huddle, quit on his team and let everyone down.

And, he was a captain.

You proud of that move if that's your son?

There is no "I" in team.

There is an "I" in quit.

(Mathison, a Weirton resident, is the sports editor of the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times and can be reached at

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