When Character Trumps Winning

Last week, Matt Labrum, football coach at Union High School in Roosevelt, Utah made national headlines when he made the bold move to suspend his entire football team for incidents of attitude issues ranging from cyberbullying to cutting class.  Instead of just making the suspensions a time out he and the coaching staff as well as the administration put in place a series of programs for the team to earn their way back on the team.

In another stunning development, these suspensions had the full support of the parents of the players. In an era of youth sports where parents are more concerned how their kids play the game and parents who are more invested in the sports than the kids;  it’s refreshing to see parents back this coaching staff for teaching these boys valuable leadership skill. The parents showed that it’s not about winning; it’s about character and accountability.

The coach has faced backlash from other coaches in the area who felt the penalty was too harsh. Coaches who apparently put more into the win/lose column than teaching kids right from wrong. I suspect these coaches are more concerned with their own jobs than the kids they have under their employ.

This is what builds leadership and character in sports. Coaches like Matt Labrum who see sports as not as a game but a lesson for life beyond the field.

What say you? Do you think Coach Labrum made the right call? Would you like to see this extended to pro sports?



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