I coach my 8y old's baseball team. Most nights I have a good time working with the kids and coaching through their games. Our league has pretty good set of rules to keep the play of the game fair and to protect the kids. One of the rules the coaches discussed before the season was the following:
In the event the baseball is hit past the outfield players or is lost in landscaping, due to the lack of a backstop on most fields, the batter shall not advance past 2nd base.
I have seen opposing teams honor this rule by either stopping their players at 2nd base or ushering them back when the play was over and explaining to their player what happened.
Tonight was not one of those nights.
Tonight our team got to witness the lowest common denominator of sportsmanship I've seen all year. I'll be the first to admit the opposing team we played tonight was a talented team, but they also wanted to make sure we knew it. Their players ran as many bases as possible, made negative comments about plays by our team, and were just plain rude when our team did make a good out.
When the game was over, the other coaches and I commented about how the game went and how we couldn't believe how the opposing coaches let things go. I left the game upset and frustrated, so I went for a ride to help cool off. I can usually get a lot of thinking done when I'm on a ride and feel better just about anything, but tonight I came home feeling worse.
And you know what made it worse?
When I realized I didn't say a goddamn thing.
I was just as complicit in letting our team get snubbed as the coaches on the opposing team who were encouraging it. I'm hoping the kids on my team didn't take the game tonight to heart, because what happened wasn't their fault. I'll have to appreciate that while I didn't correct things at the time they happened, at least I figured it out in the end.
Lesson learned: Speak up when it matters, not when you think it's convenient.