Youthful exuberance is the greatest asset of teenagers, but it is also often the cause of their downfall.
Rare is the occasion, however, when this dichotomy can be illustrated with a single action. On Thursday, students at Brush Prairie Hockinson High in Washington performed such an action, storming the court to celebrate their basketball team’s apparent victory one second too early, resulting in a technical foul, two made free throws for the other team and a brutal 72-71 loss to Camas.
”They did what they had to do to win the game,” Hockinson coach Trevor Person told The Oregonian. “To have an outside situation dictate the outcome was a little disappointing. I wanted our players to have the feeling of what it’s like to win a game like that.”
And here is where we get to the Important Idea in this story. Person reacted to the situation with laudable maturity and dignity. After addressing his players, who he described as “bummed,” Person went out to the student section.
But not to rip.
“I don’t know if they were crying or not, but their heads were in their hands,” he said. “I told the student section ‘Thank you.’ I didn’t want that situation to dictate how they cheer for us. Our crowd was phenomenal. I don’t want to fault an exciting student section.”
It isn’t right to say that most coaches would not have handled it so well. That would besmirch high school basketball coaches as a group, and they certainly don’t deserve that. But not all of them would have been as selfless and empathetic.
These are teenagers, after all, and they’re excitable and impulsive. It’s what makes them great at being basketball fans, but every now and then they’re going to slip up and wear something they shouldn’t, yell something they shouldn’t or run where they shouldn’t.
If you make your living dealing with teenagers, you just have to take the good with the bad.
Still, what a tough break for those players, who had to watch helplessly from afar as Camas’ Jordan Lenard sank two free throws with one second left.
“I’ve never seen that play called,” Person said. “I don’t want say anything negative about what they (the officials) called. They did a phenomenal job of calling the game.”