I want to share a story that may be something for you to think about and/or pass along to your players. To avoid potentially identifying any particular individual involved, I can’t provide specifics.
I was once on a selection committee tasked with determining an All-Something team. After tallying the votes allocating players to what we felt were their appropriate teams (e.g. 1st team, 2nd team) we moved on to Player of the Year (POY). At this point, the chair of the committee brought up something we needed to consider in our deliberations.
I should note here that it is often the case in these kinds of committees that the player getting the most votes – however the specific committee does that – earns POY honors. In some cases it’s automatic, based on a set of rules. In many it’s not. This committee was one of the latter.
What the committee chair wanted us to consider was the behavior of the top vote-getter in this case. The chair had committee members familiar with said player share their direct experience. What followed was a series of examples of the player verbally abusing officials and event staff and putting others – both players and staff – at risk of serious physical harm. There was actually an injury in one case.
I am happy to report that the committee unanimously voted to award the POY to the player who had the second most points. We could not exclude the top player from the All-Something list. That doesn’t mean we had to further reward them, though. Taking this action also somewhat diminished this player’s candidacy for higher level awards (think going from All-League to All-District or All-District to All-State).
So attitude and behavior matter. This player was clearly one of the most talented in the competition that year. They behaved terribly, however. Believe it or not, that matters. If I saw a player like that in my recruiting, there’s no chance I take them. Not every coach or club takes that view, but a lot do.
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