Dear Maine Juniors Parents, Players and Friends on the Brink of NERVA I,
I am writing this message to all of you – and myself.
Much of our experience, work and play in volleyball revolves around forming healthy, functional connections to others. I still have dreams about some of the people I made great connections with when I played and in my role as a tournament director. I organize, waking or sleeping. I still play with my friends – in my dreams!
You as parents, and your daughters – more importantly – are making some of these great connections NOW. NERVA I, and each successive tourney, is going to be a distinct opportunity to do this in a different way!
I want us to use this opportunity.
I still have opportunities to appreciate my interactions and connections with old friends and new ones at the new Maine Sports Arena – home of Maine Juniors, away tourneys and wherever else we may meet. Relationships – the common term for these connections – are the key in our volleyball playing (or watching and supporting) and in our life overall.
Let’s remember that and strive for strong, respectful relationships.
Volleyball players, their parents and friends have a ready-made “lab” to do this work. There are teammates, parents of teammates, players and parents from the many other Maine Juniors teams, your coach and other coaches, administrators and many volunteers. But in the tourney setting tomorrow, it is opposing NERVA I players, their parents and coaches, referees, youth referees and tournament directors whom we can connect with in a very special and significant manner.
As NERVA I approaches, I am reminding myself and all of you of one aspect of relationships which is particularly important to the NERVA I, II, III, IV and V settings and to our work together as representatives of the Maine Juniors Volleyball Club. (Yes, we all are!)
I am very proud of the track record that we have established in our seventeen years as a J.O. Club. While we have accomplished much – and the Arena is a terrific, new example – and received much acclaim, there is no area that I’m more proud of than that of our collective sportsmanship as a group. It is such an important part of Maine Juniors’ culture!
We believe that sportsmanship is of the highest priority, higher than winning, and as high as any other.
It is essential to the development of the people we care most about on Sunday – the girls themselves, your daughters and your teammates. I hope our Maine Juniors club as a group – all of us – continue to become excellent examples of sportsmanship. I expect us to strive to be perfect in this regard. Let us learn to win and lose with grace. We’ll all be getting plenty of practice with both “W”s and “L”s in the 5 NERVA tournaments. Challenge yourself to be gracious in your best wins and hardest losses.
THE NEW ENGLAND REGION HAS CHARGED COACHES WITH THE FOLLOWING RESPONSIBILITIES:
“…bad behavior toward player referees is not acceptable and … players, coaches or parents may be asked to leave the facility if they are disrespectful to any individual or disruptive in any way.”
Coaches should be reminded to inform the parents of their team of this rule.
It isn’t easy to be “up on the ladder” or watching for centerline and net violations tomorrow. Or sometimes, even flipping score! Let’s take the time to compliment all the girls who ref!
Be Examples of the Best!
So, everyone, please follow not only the basics of sportsmanship… by not offending… and be sure that anyone accompanying you does, but also be examples of the best. Why not cheer for both sides? Why not recognize good play by an opponent as quickly (or nearly as quickly) and as loudly (or nearly as loudly) as you would for your own daughter or teammate and let them know it? So what if they’re across a piece of netting from you/your daughter? Why not reward any positive events on the court with positive cheers? Why not say goodbye to any temptation for negative cheering of an opponent’s error, for example? Negativity of that type rarely helps to win a contest. Much more often it detracts from the positive focus you need to do your best.
These are things to think about in our striving to be excellent sports. Not all J.O. clubs, coaches, parents or players do equally well with this important facet of sports. We have continued beautifully over these seventeen years in this respect. I am grateful for that.
I hope the variety of programs we offer, our growing size, our improving competitive level and our Arena add more and more to the goodwill we spread through playing and watching and enjoying the game positively… together.
Thanks so much for making us “the good guys” … and girls.
Director, Maine Juniors Volleyball