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Go Thunderbirds!
February 26, 2013 2:17 PM   Subscribe

"I think sportsmanship is knowing that it is a game, that we are only as a good as our opponents, and whether you win or lose, to always give 100 percent." - Sue Wicks. When the Coronado High School Thunderbirds basketball team entered their last game of the season, Coach Peter Morales had more than winning on his mind.
posted by whimsicalnymph (22 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
Fantastic story. There's a coach who gets it.
posted by Thorzdad at 2:23 PM on February 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


That was just really incredible. Wow.
posted by IvoShandor at 2:34 PM on February 26, 2013


It's very sweet. On my childhood courts we would have probably blocked that junx. NO FREEBIES. xEASTxCOASTxYALLx
posted by Potomac Avenue at 2:36 PM on February 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


I see a few of these stories now and again, but what makes this one (and others) stand out to me is when it's the opposing player's own initiative that make it such a happy ending, not on orders from the opposing coach.
posted by CancerMan at 2:37 PM on February 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


Somewhere out there... deep in the Texas night... the world's most degenerate sports bettor curses the name Mitchell with his last breath.... "Franklin... almost... beat the spread...."
posted by Potomac Avenue at 2:40 PM on February 26, 2013 [4 favorites]


Damn you for making me tear up on the bus.

Great story.
posted by never used baby shoes at 2:41 PM on February 26, 2013


Oh, and I'm not teary. I sweating through my eyeballs.
posted by CancerMan at 2:46 PM on February 26, 2013 [3 favorites]


Maybe I'm just a grump, but stories like this make me uncomfortable. It seems so condescending.
Even as a kid I hated it when someone let me win, even if there was no way I'd do it on my own.

So, hummmm.
posted by cccorlew at 2:47 PM on February 26, 2013 [12 favorites]


The local team has signs up on phone poles: "LADY TROJANS: NEVER BE SATISFIED!".
posted by dunkadunc at 2:53 PM on February 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


Damn, that's some good kid raising all around. Good for all of hem.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 3:12 PM on February 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


Well, then there's the russian way...
posted by cloax at 3:21 PM on February 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


Tears...
posted by therubettes at 3:29 PM on February 26, 2013


THIS is how to make the world a better place.
posted by snsranch at 3:47 PM on February 26, 2013


you know what, i was all ready to be a grump until i saw the people pour onto the court to surround him. to hell with how the story comes across, a community rallying around someone like that is worth taking at face value.
posted by oog at 4:19 PM on February 26, 2013 [4 favorites]


Maybe I'm just a grump, but stories like this make me uncomfortable. It seems so condescending. Even as a kid I hated it when someone let me win, even if there was no way I'd do it on my own.

I hear you, cccorlew, but I was still touched that the team did this, and that the other team saw what was going on and joined in, when a championship was on the line. both teams exhibited the kind of character I want to see more of in sports. Notice that Mitchell also shows character here; he plays his position until the ball is fed to him and doesn't get frustrated or fed up when he keeps on missing, but keeps plugging away. good sports, all these kids. I like that.

When my sons played rec soccer, my husband coached them for several years. My husband is incredibly competitive himself and also played soccer when he was a kid, but we both felt that in recreational soccer, everybody should be having fun playing the game, so we tried to instill the love of the game and good sportsmanship in the kids. We didn't trash talk the other team names, we didn't whine about bad calls, we offered a hand up when someone on either team went down when fighting for the ball, took a knee or kicked the ball out of bounds if someone was injured, etc.

But we also played really hard, and the kids got very, very good. We were mindful of how some of the coaches favored their own kids (and man, were those kids insufferable!), so if anything he was a little harder on our own boys, too.

Anyway, three of our players (a girl, my son and another boy ) worked especially well together. By a couple seasons in, they had this unbeatable combo going on where the triad would take the ball down the field, crossing and sending up the thru ball and making kill shots.

What my spouse would do, rather than either just demolishing the other team and rubbing their noses in it (this is rec, after all) or "letting" them have the ball, is to start giving our kids challenges.

"You three, you're doing so well, it's getting too easy for you. From now on, I want to see you only score with your left feet!"

"No less than (3,4,5) passes before you go for the goal."

"Okay, now we're going to alternate one player out of the triad, and I want the other two to feed the ball to (guys who usually played defense), see if you can keep up the streak."

Our midfielder would switch with our goalkeeper, our defenders and forwards would switch places, whatever.

It kept the game fun and challenging and the other team didn't just feel condescended to.

And both of my kids can score with either foot and play pretty much any position on the field now, which is a nice bonus (though they both hate playing in the goal).
posted by misha at 4:40 PM on February 26, 2013 [5 favorites]


Man, between this and the [deleted] story about the frat fundraiser for reassignment surgery, today was a good day in the world.

Now we just need to keep it up.

And misha, being goalie is AWESOME! No sense of self-preservation helps, though.
posted by Samizdata at 4:49 PM on February 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


Damn, this wasn't about the old marionette show. (My childhood bedroom still has thunderbirds painted on it.)

That said, stories like this make me not hate sports for a little while.
posted by Canageek at 6:32 PM on February 26, 2013


Even as a kid I hated it when someone let me win, even if there was no way I'd do it on my own.

If an adult can't figure out a way to play fairly against a child while avoiding the twin problems of a) "letting them win" and b) hammering them into the ground, that adult is stupider than the child.
posted by DU at 7:05 PM on February 26, 2013


Maybe I'm just a grump, but stories like this make me uncomfortable. It seems so condescending.
Even as a kid I hated it when someone let me win, even if there was no way I'd do it on my own.


We don't know Mitchell, so you don't know that we can compare his cognition to you as a kid. In all likelihood, it's not a good analogy because people with developmental delays tend to resemble children only superficially. Mitchell probably doesn't carry the same burden of cynicism that you or I do even as kids, and you can't ascribe anything to him because his brain works very differently than yours or mine, to the point where your developmental milestones are irrelevant. His mom says he was thrilled, she knows him better than presumably anyone; he was thrilled and you should be happy for him. This is a positive story.

This is one of those cases where you can either be moved, or just move on.
posted by Mayor Curley at 7:32 PM on February 26, 2013 [5 favorites]


As Mayor Curley points out, there's really no way to know what went on inside his head, but I hope what Mitchell remembers about this day is: He finally got to play in a basketball game with his friends, and he scored a basket.

Also, good on Jonathon Montanez, the opposing player who passed Mitchell the ball so he could make a final try at scoring. That's some evolved behavior for a high school kid, and his parent(s) should be proud of having raised a child who can show compassion for other people.
posted by Nat "King" Cole Porter Wagoner at 8:50 PM on February 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


If an adult can't figure out a way to play fairly against a child while avoiding the twin problems of a) "letting them win" and b) hammering them into the ground, that adult is stupider than the child.

In basketball, it's a fair chance that the player with a two foot advantage is going to have to let the other player win absent a free throw competition, one vs three or some such.
posted by jaduncan at 3:23 AM on February 27, 2013


See Shaq's shooting skills, in fact.
posted by jaduncan at 3:24 AM on February 27, 2013


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