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Youth Center Sports Program

Ellsworth AFB, S.D. -- The Commander' s Action Line is a forum for the Ellsworth community to make suggestions or voice concerns about Ellsworth directly to Col. Kevin Kennedy, 28th Bomb Wing commander. 

QUESTION 

Col. Kennedy,

I signed my son up for basketball this year and I was very excited to watch his first game on Saturday. However as I was sitting at the event watching the 8 and 9 year olds run up and down the court and I look up at the score board to realize we are tied. I comment on the close game to be notified by another parent that when one team scores, both teams get points! I was blown away, these are not 4-5 year olds learning the sport, these are children at the age where they are developing many social skills by participating in group sports, however being robbed of the opportunity to learn valuable lessons. We are setting them up for failure. They will not go out into the real world and succeed by purely participating! What motivation does my son have to practice and get better when it doesn't matter how well he does, he will always be the same? It is my job as a parent to raise a man to go out into the world and be prepared for failures as well as success and again we are missing this great opportunity.

I do understand that this decision was probably made with very good intentions, however I think it should be reconsidered. A portion of the mission statement written on the wall stresses sportsmanship, but how can that be taught when they are not given the chance to win or lose? Please reconsider this, thank you.


Col. Kevin Kennedy
Col. Kevin
Kennedy
  RESPONSE

Thank you for the feedback on the sports program and for participating...it is a great opportunity for our kids. We run our youth sports according to the Air Force governing instructions and the National Standards for Youth Sports. Per this guidance, we do not keep running scores or standings for 7-8 year olds or younger. The 9-10 year old teams and older do keep score (based on the age cutoffs some 9 year olds could still be in the primarily 7-8 year old league). There is no requirement to award points after each basket and we will only use the clock portion of the scoreboard going forward to avoid confusion.

I agree that sports are a great tool for teaching life skills and our volunteer coaches focus on providing participants the opportunity to learn the fundamentals of the sport, sportsmanship, critical thinking, and working as a team. As a parent or coach I have watched my kids participate in many sports leagues and have enjoyed seeing them grow through sports -- the opportunity to learn after wins (and losses) is definitely there as children get older.

If you would like more detail related to our Youth Sports program, Ms. Anne Noll, our Youth Director, can be reached at 385-5401.