No Team Here

I had planned to write about something else today. Something cheerful and happy. Instead, I just got off the phone and feel like crying.

Last year one of my boys played on a winter basketball recreation league. We were invited through a friend who knew the coach. It was an eight game season with one practice a week. Being his first season, my son was hesitant at first but came to love going to practices. He always had a smile on his face and always followed directions.

My son was not the best on the team, the son’s coach was. My son didn’t play all the time, the coach’s son did. 


My son never cried on the court, the coach’s son did. My son never threw a fit in a game,  the coach’s son did.

My son was just thrilled to be on the court. He once said to me, “Mom, one day I’m going to play in the NBA.” He barely touched the ball during games but he thought he was a star.

For the past month I knew registration for winter basketball must be approaching. Today I looked on the website and saw that the registration deadline ends in two days. We never got an email from the coach.

Good riddance I thought. We’ll get on another team.

But suddenly the tail end of a conversation made sense to me.

Last week at soccer practice I walked up on a conversation between our soccer coach and two moms. I heard, “So they’ll both play?” The response was, “Yes.” The coach then quickly walked away.

Fast forward to today when I called one of those moms and asked if their son is playing basketball. She awkwardly told me the coach had asked her son to play on his team for the upcoming season. Outwardly I was laughing and making light of the issue but I had tears forming.

Again, someone doesn’t want my kid on their team. It feels like shit – I want to scream and shout and say, “You’re missing out on a great kid! He wants to play!”

What happened to “we are a team,” or “every person on this team is valuable?”

Joining a team at six should not be about ability, it should be about fun. Yes, you can learn techniques and be excited about wins but a bigger message should rise above it all. Sports are fun and can be for everyone. Sadly, the adults involved are forgetting this message.

Ever gone through this?



It’s been a week since I wrote the post above. Though still annoyed, my husband and I have found another avenue for our son to play basketball.  We have signed him up with a Christian youth league where the emphasis is on everyone playing and having fun. While we feel really hopeful that this will be a positive place for him to be, it hasn’t stopped me from making snide internal comments to the soccer coach during the last two weeks of practice.

14 thoughts on “No Team Here

  1. I remember this particular situation when we were at a game last year. I know this is so hurtful. BUT, I’m glad he’s not in this situation again! I’m glad he’s going to be in a more nurturing environment. Also, if he doesn’t get “game time” how does he improve?

    Also, when God shuts a door, he opens a window! This is going to be a much better year!

  2. This hurts my heart 🙁 I dont understand why people think sports is all about competition and winning games. There are so many more benefits that sports can do for a child. Its people like those parents and coaches who ruin a great outlet for our little ones. I coached high school softball a few years ago and I let everyone play and everyone was treated the same. If you put in the hard work at practice you should be able to show off during a game. We lost every game but 1.. but my girls said they had the best season ever.

    Im glad you decided on another league for your son. Negative people like that shouldnt stop your son from the having a good time playing basketball. In the end, they are the ones that lost out. I could talk about this forever.. Im passionate about sports and think every child should have a chance to play whatever they want. Ill get off my soapbox now 🙂 Great post by the way!

  3. This post makes me sad. But I tell you, these helicopter parents are crazy and will pay for it later in life when their kids don’t know how to deal with disappointment and are not mature enough to learn to be on their own. Mark my words!

  4. I am all for winning. I am all for keeping score (the kids know anyway) and the best kids should play the most. But all the kids should play and noone should be excluded until you reach the travel team ages.

    I have gone through 2 different generations of youth sports, and it is not unusual at all for the stas at 6 to be average at 14 and the scrubs at 6 becoming the stars at 14!
    You may like my June post on LL Baseball

    The Cranky Old Man

  5. Ugh. That royally sucks. I’m not looking forward to stuff like this, AT ALL. I’d want to punch that guy in the face. But since I’m completely passive-aggressive, I’d definitely be sending him a letter.

  6. I’m sorry. I so feel your pain. This has happened to our son as well. We finally found a different team with a completely different coach that has made all the difference in the world. It’s such a shame that ‘selecting’ players has to start so young! It hurts–everyone! Love to you and hope it’s a great basketball season!

  7. Six years old. SIX! That is so ridiculous. Let kids just be kids. Teach them that attributes like cooperation, teamwork, perseverance, and a good attitude are more important than winning. Those lessons will help them more in life than who scored more points on their 1st grade basketball team. I hope your son is able to enjoy his new league, at least he has a mom with some perspective!

  8. Simple solution to competitiveness at youth sports. Turn the scoreboard off. Honestly who cares about the scores of a 6 year old basketball game.
    Sorry you had to go through this Jen. Hope he has a good time in the christian basketball league. It sounds like it will be a better experience for him anyway and will get to play more.

  9. I agree with cranky old man about those that are stars at six are average at 14 in many cases or just hate the sport after awhile. Even if some do go on to be stars many have a skewed sense that the world revolves around them and their needs and they make poor choices when their career ends….keep in mind why you want them to play on a team….exercise, team work, and burning off energy are the key and hopefully he will have a coach who also believes in that….I am a lover of sports for the reasons above but I firmly believe it must be for “the love of the game.” As a Ap teacher, all the time I’m given less than the ideal student but with belief in them and coaching many come to believe in themselves and take the lead in their life and studies. Competition for competitions sake is way over rated as a life skill since most successful people have to learn patience, compromise, and perseverance to succeed in whatever they choose to do.

  10. What a jerk! But lots of great comments above – I love Rhonda’s shuts the door/opens a window! And I agree 100% that to be on the original team isn’t the best place for him; hopefully this new league will give him the opportunities he deserves to exercise his body and mind and build his skills… things he wouldn’t get with Jerk-Face. He closes the door, but opens a window. <3

  11. So sorry for your son. He sounds like he’d be a wonderful asset on any team.

    It’s not just sports where this happens. Decades ago growing up on a Naval base after WW II as a half-Japanese girl who wanted to dance, my sister and I attended ballet and tap lessons along with another half-Japanese girl. This other girl was really talented! All three of us wanted to be in the dance recital. The way the teacher chose NOT to select us was by informing all three of us that we could perform IF the costumes fit. Needless to say, none of the costumes fit the three of us and we were not allowed to perform.

    Funny how adults can be so cruel to a child who just wants to dance…

  12. I would be on such a rampage. I would probably call the coach, and if the coach didn’t have a satisfactory explanation, he would get an earful or three.

    I haven’t always been this way. When I was younger I would avoid conflict and put up with a lot. But when I was lying in my hospital room after my daughter Julianna was born–Julianna has Down’s–a doctor unconnected with our family, but a friend of another family member, came in and stood at the foot of my bed. “You have to be prepared to be an adovcate for your child,” she told me. That was the birth of a mother bear who is determined to crusade this world into a better place for all her kids, not just the one with Down syndrome. Including telling people whose priorities are all out of whack that they need to rethink them. I am so glad you found a way to keep your child involved.

  13. I almost cried reading your post. How can an adult be so cruel to a child?! He obviously doesn’t have his priorities straight and I’m so glad you found a better team for him to play on.

  14. New follower – awww. How timely your post is for me to ready TODAY. Not that this has happened to me but I just fear for my son being treated “less than nice”. He is six and will be seven next month. But he is VERY VERY tall. So the assumption is he must be able to play (he can’t). He’s not great but what’s the deal with competition? It’s supposed to be all fun. He wants to play and have a good time. Last year our coach was the a player’s father. And so true, his some played all the time, played very well and even though the score wasn’t being kept, he cried if we were “losing” GEEZ. It’s really s@cks how times have changed. When I was young everything was pretty much for fun up until high school. That was when you really learned, beefed up your skills and hoped to get looked at for a scholarship (if you were good). I was the naive college freshman that went to college and joined the track team for fun. Somebody asked me what I was doing there if I didn’t have a scholarship. Those girls were awesome, left me in the dust and practice kicked my but. I might not be exaggerating if I say I only lasted two days. Sorry for the long comment. I got off on a tangent. If you follow me just a warning you might see that again in a future post 😉

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