Where Are The Coaches? Little League’s Hand Forced Over Finger Gesture
By now you've heard the story of the Atlee Junior League softball team's post-game photo in which some of the players are supposedly flipping the bird to their host-team and opponent, Kirkland American, after a tension filled game. The girls on that team range between 12-14 years of age. They were playing in the Little League World Series.
Little League became aware of the violation and immediately suspended the team, disqualifying them from play, and Kirkland advanced. Are we becoming too sensitive? That's one side I've seen from the comments. Kids will be kids. The other side is the one to which I align myself.
Coach your kids. Tell them the rules, and your own expectation of their conduct. And reward them when they comply. Enforce the rules if they don't. No matter the consequences. Little League play is one of the first places kids learn to be adults, who have to put aside their own wants and desires for the higher team goal. If you're lucky, you hoist the trophy with your team. If you're not lucky, you've lost with dignity and class, congratulating the victors for out-playing you that day.
And that's where it ends. Either way you gave your best. This photo was clearly not all the Atlee players at their best. They needed a better understanding of what was at stake. You get that from the coaches.
Read more about Atlee at The Washington Post.