There Is Some Respect In This Game

I had this write up forwarded to me and thought it was worth sharing here.  It was written by Al Coates of The Record in Kitchener:

Novice select Braves show real strength comes from sportsmanship

July 11, 2008
AL COATES
RECORD STAFF

You read a lot these days about troubles in minor sports, especially team sports, and most often, seemingly, relating to hockey and soccer.

And then, something very nice happens, something that restores a bit of faith in the value of youth sports and sportsmanship.

Kitchener Braves Novice 2The K-W novice select Braves, a bunch of nine- and 10-year-old boys, compete in a summertime regional lacrosse league.

The kids are coached by Steve MacGregor, a 46-year-old Kitchener family doctor, who has been involved with lacrosse for more than three decades, first as a junior and senior player in Brampton and Orangeville, and latterly as a coach, first in those two centres, and in Kitchener- Waterloo for the past 20 years.

He has four sons, he’s coached them all, and his youngest, nine-year-old Nolan, plays on this year’s Braves.

The Braves are enjoying a nice season, sitting second in their league. A few weeks ago, they took the short hop over to Elora to play that town’s novice B team.
Elora’s novice A’s are strong; the B’s are less so, not at all surprising given Elora’s comparatively small population.

The Elora B’s have had a tough season. They haven’t won a game and they’ve been blown out a few times — and, as a result, it’s been tough to get the players to come out to every game.
For this particular game, they were short-handed and had to call up a tyke-level player, a seven-year-old, to compete against the Braves and players three years older.

At that age level, that’s an enormous gap in size, speed and skill.
The Braves won the game quite handily, but in the process, thanks to MacGregor’s sensitive coaching hands, they learned something about themselves, the nature of sportsmanship, and the need to show respect for their sport and their opponent.

The young Braves took their share of shots on goal, but not before they were asked to make two or three penetrating passes to keep the Elora players involved and competitive. Effectively, the Braves were working on their own skills while keeping the Elora youngsters in the game.
Elora’s seven-year-old player, meanwhile, was purposely given some time to handle the ball and some room to move on the floor.

The K-W kids checked him, but not hard enough to push him off the ball; in the end, given a bit of extra space and extra time, he wound up scoring Elora’s second and final goal of the game.
At game’s end, as the Elora boys left the ice, the Braves saluted them with something special — a sticks-raised honour guard as an expression of respect for a game well played.
Coach MacGregor, in a phone conversation yesterday, said the honour guard is something that he reserves for important occasions — games well and competitively played, tournament finals, and games such as the one the Braves played with Elora to mark a special achievement, in this case, that of Elora’s brave little tyke.

“I guess it’s become something of a trademark for me,” MacGregor said. “When all is said and done, it’s just our way of showing a measure of respect for our opponents.”
The Elora coach, Gary Darroch, said this in an e-mail to the K-W minor lacrosse association:

“I have never seen such a display of sportsmanship from any team anywhere, let alone a group of nine- and 10-year-olds.

The parents, coaches and players should all be applauded for the way they handle themselves.
“I’ve never enjoyed losing to a team more!”

Pretty nice, don’t you think?

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