My first writing job didn't come at a newspaper, but it did involve sports.
I was paid as a part-time media specialist for my home county's parks and recreation department.
I learned many things about sports—primarily their importance to families—while a part of Scotland County's Parks and Recreation Department that I still carry over into my coverage today.
Even though Monday is technically an off day for me, you can usually find me at Wolverine Field covering a Newton County Recreation Commission game.
Recreation Commission sports are one of my favorite things to cover. The kids playing still have a sense of excitement, and the coaches spend countless volunteer hours prepping other people's children to play the game, while teaching them valuable life lessons that translate off the field.
Unfortunately, this week a game was marked by an over-exuberant parent.
Parents, I know you are excited to see your kids play. It's why I'm employed. Parents love to see their kid's names in the newspaper and love to see their kids strap on their helmets and take the gridiron.
However, during a game, in front of other parents and players, is not the time to voice concerns over playing time or coaching decisions. Let the kids play and enjoy themselves. There's plenty of time to work out the minutia of the details during the other 111 hours of the week that a game isn't being played.
The coaching staff of the team handled the moment fantastically, calmly diffusing the situation while offering the parent a chance to talk after the game. The coach showed great leadership in front of his fellow staff and players and should be commended for the example he set for his football team.
The example we set for our players at home, and on the field, goes a long way in their development and how they treat others.
Sports are a great outlet to teach lessons that build character, and Monday night at Wolverine Field, I believe a team had a chance to see how they should treat others.
Everyone needs to remember why we play, even if we're years removed from our sport. Sportsmanship, high character and decency still count, even if not on the scoreboard.