Meet Coach McKinney, Todd McKinney. Winner of Coach of the Year Award during Elizabethtown Youth Baseball National Tournament held in June in Elizabethtown, Kentucky.
Although, if you read the excerpts of the coach’s interview, you will notice the coach credits a lot of it to the way their whole group, athletes, coaches and parents behaved during the tournament. Like every tournament there were logistical nuances, arrangement issues and performance highs and lows. But the Mineral Area Orioles Baseball Team, all its members, supporters, parents, staff and its leader, Coach McKinney, everyone was supportive and understanding throughout the tournament. They dealt with adversity with utmost grace. No one created a fuss about the hotel being changed or threw tantrums when the going got tough for the team.
“We are going to be respectful. There are always going to be bad calls, even on the professional level, or maybe you were the one that was wrong. Either way, we are not going to disagree in a disrespectful way. Our kids are not going to see their coaches or their parents losing their minds yelling, screaming and saying things that are inappropriate”, said Coach McKinney. This does not imply that they took all silently, but they dealt with it in a dignified, respectful manner.
Coach McKinney and his group set a great example for all sports teams and parents, especially in youth sports. While we look at sports as a great way of learning for our kids, we must also see this as a great platform for us, elders, to set the right examples for our little ones. It’s about coaching not just sports but life skills to kids, and reminding parents and coaches that not just their game but their behavior also goes into making your kids the athletes and the people they become. The game matters, but the experience matters more. And the experience, the life skill, the team-player spirit, the unselfishness, grace, respect, all of it comes from role models, not coaches or parents, but role models who live these virtues themselves.