Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

Columns

May 29, 2014

Sometimes the best lesson comes from losing

Indiana high school basketball could soon be going to a three-class system instead of the current four-classes we have now. The IHSAA, as a recent article in the Indianapolis Star pointed out, can “run any tournament the membership wants.” But what they’re considering now is three classes based on enrollment with two divisions in each class. According to the story, the proposal being discussed would create 80 sectional champions instead of the 64 we currently crown each season. The sectional winners then would meet in the regionals, which would mean that either four or six sectional winners would compete for the regional crown. The end result would be three state champions instead of four. In other words, there would be one less school that could claim to be a state champion in basketball.

The more salient point, it seems to me, is that this proposal creates an additional 16 sectional champions. As Rich Schelsky, coach of the Western Boone girls team said, “…I think our state has gotten too caught up in everyone winning.” Coach Schelsky is on to something when he spoke about everyone winning.

“Everyone winning” goes much deeper than just high school basketball. It permeates nearly every sport you can name, particularly sports for little kids. Heaven forbid that kids should learn one of life’s most important lessons – that much of life is about competition and that learning how to lose is as worthwhile as learning how to win! Somehow lots of folks have gotten the idea that making everyone feel good about themselves is more important than the larger life lesson that winning, not just in sports, requires hard work, dedication, and practice. The team that works the hardest, that is the most dedicated to getting better, and willing to practice, practice, practice is going to win more often than the team that doesn’t. In the larger sense, life is like that.

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