By DAVID TEPERA | Posted: Wednesday, February 4, 2015
When my son Dylan was 11 years old, I coached his youth basketball team. We had a successful season, all the players improved, had lots of fun, except for one situation. We were down to our last game and one of the players, whom I will call John, hadn’t scored a goal all season, even though he had equal playing time as his teammates.
Before our last game started, I talked to our opponent’s coach, Kevin Dapper, and explained the situation. I asked Coach Dapper, when the game is down to the last 2 minutes and if John hasn’t scored, would his team agree to let him score a basket? He gathered his 11 year old team together and they all happily agreed.
Well, the game was under 2 minutes and John hadn’t scored. I nodded to Coach Dapper, and he signaled his team.
You see, all of John’s family was at this particular game including, not only parents and siblings, but grandparents and out of town relatives.
We inbounded the ball, passed it to John, who proceeded clumsily down the court. The opponents acted like they were defending but giving John a pathway, and after a few attempts, made his first and only basket of the season.
I leaped about 5 feet in the air with the biggest scream. His family were on their feet yelling at the top of their lungs. John was running back down the court with the biggest grin imaginable.
It was the first time to witness 11 year old boys excited for an opponent to score against them.
We might have lost that game on the scoreboard, but you would have never known by the celebration we were having.
Just know, all these boys are in high school now, and Coach Dapper is still coaching youth sports and teaching good sportsmanship.
Coach Dapper, even after all these years, I still tip my hat.