At last week’s Schola Cantorum concert, I thanked those younger students not yet in one of our programs for the good attention they showed their older siblings who were performing. “If you want to show someone you love them,” I said, “you listen to them.” I was surprised by how many parents came up to me afterward to voice their approval of that sentiment.
Now that we have four Petra basketball teams competing each week, I’d like to offer a corollary for the court: “If you want to show someone you love them, you cheer for them and watch them play.”
If you’ve been to a game, you may have seen me occasionally ask students (ours or others) to refrain from grabbing a basketball at halftime or between games to head out on the court to shoot. My goal in doing this is not to be mean, but to encourage students to respect and support team members who have put in the hard work to wear the uniform.
As we pursue excellence in the classroom, I want to see us do the same in our competitions and the way we think about what a Petra athletic event is and should be. I want to raise the profile of what it takes to participate in athletics and honor the effort of those who give themselves to a sport in addition to their studies.
Our uber-informal Bozeman culture, coupled with an overly child-centric American parenting view, can work against us in terms of teaching kids delayed gratification and the value of earning a spot on a team. Setting aside the court (or sports field) for those who have fulfilled the requirements to be there is a small push back against the entitlement mentality that teaches kids they can do what they want by just showing up.
Thank you for teaching and helping your young ones understand that, on game days, the court is reserved for the athletes playing the games. One day, your aspiring athlete will get his or her turn, and we will show them we love them by being there to cheer for them and watch them play.