Sportsmanship Builds Character in CSH Boys Team
May 29, 2014 | by Ken Ilchuk
It’s a tough time of year. There are so many potential family conflicts for travel soccer teams in the spring – communions, weddings, school activities, holiday weekends, and more. The BU14 Smithtown Jaguars found out first hand last weekend when only 10 of their 15 players could make the team’s game against Cold Spring Harbor.
Bracing for a long afternoon, the Jaguars coaching staff weren’t ready for what came next. Cold Spring Harbor, having a full squad in addition to substitute players, took the field with only ten players. They decided to even the playing field rather than play with an advantage, as many teams would.
“As a manager and a parent of a player on the team, I realize that in 10 years, most of these children will have moved on to adulthood,” said Smithtown parent Bruno Valenti in a letter to Smithtown Kickers club president Pat LaManna. “Most will not receive scholarships, nor play for a professional soccer team. They will not remember scores, but will have fond memories of the fun times and life lessons learned along the way. Cold Spring Harbor coach Steve Lerner taught one of those important life lessons that Saturday on the playing field. He taught the lesson of sportsmanship, kindness and showed a display of humanity that is often not celebrated enough in our culture today.”
What’s even more remarkable to this story is that the team from Cold Spring Harbor…..lost the game! Some coaches would have made the gesture early, but changed the game plan once things started going badly. Not this time. But Valenti for one feels the CSH boys are long term winners.
“Our boys recognized this gesture and admired it,” he said. “I am sure (Coach Lerner’s) team learned a lesson as well. Although losing the game, the Cold Spring Harbor team walked away as winners in other ways and should keep their heads up high under the leadership of Coach Lerner and his display of sportsmanship that day.”
The Long Island Junior Soccer League commends Coach Lerner and the members of his team for understanding the importance of building character through soccer, both on and off the field.