My son, who is 12, has been following the NBA playoffs. He was rooting hard for Lebron and the Cavaliers. Of course, the Cavs lost big and were eliminated. As frustrated as he was with the loss, he was a lot more disappointed by the seemingly "sore loser" actions of Lebron.
While confetti rained down in Amway Arena, his teammates and Cavs' staff sought out the Orlando Magic and congratulated them on the advancement to the Finals. Where was Lebron? Well, when the final seconds ticked down, Lebron put on his poker face and left the floor. Later, when the press conference started, Lebron was a no-show, having chosen to don his headphones and leave the arena. My son was disappointed in a major way.
Now my son certainly understands losing and the feeling of defeat. You see, basketball is his favorite sport. He loves it. He gets to school an hour early everyday and plays basketball. He plays with his friends every afternoon. But, even with all of that practice, he's simply not that great at basketball. But he hasn't given up b-ball. In fact, he tries out for his middle school team every year, and has never made it. He hasn't given up. He says that he simply loves playing. But seldom is he on the winning team. He's used to it and it hasn't deterred him from participating. It's important to him, though, to congratulate his friends when they win. And it's important for him to encourage those friends that seem to have "the gift." Why shouldn't he? It's how sports are supposed to be played.
He knows that he may never be a great player and he's okay with that. Very few kids who love basketball actually grow up to play professionally. However, the lessons of sports should stay with them throughout their lives. The lessons of respect, honor, sportsmanship, etc. If it's all good when you win Rookie of the Year and/or MVP, then it has to be equally as good when your team doesn't play well enough to advance to the Finals. I hope this was just an isolated slip for Lebron, and that it doesn't become habit. I can say, however, that while my son is definitely still a Cavs fan, he's a bit disenchanted with Lebron.