Hey JRW: It’s Not Your Fault – Learn From This

Hey JRW, it’s not your fault – the adults in charge failed you.

The adults in charge put together a questionable roster with ineligible players who lived outside the team’s approved boundaries. In response, officials of Little League International stripped JRW of its U.S. title and much more.

In youth sports, when adults knowingly cheat, kids lose.

Photo credit: MLB Blogs Network

As a father whose son plays baseball at the highest amateur level, baseball is very much an old school sport, much like golf, with unwritten rules. Whatever you do, don’t get caught cheating. It’ll come back & bite you.

I feel bad for JRW kids. I told my son Josh Stowers to work hard for what he wants! Baseball is very unforgiving to cheaters. Look at Pete Rose & stars from the steroid era. Baseball has its own culture and you have to be in it to understand it. That’s why I’m surprised to hear Kenny Williams say:

They’re not just champions because of how they won on the field, but because of how they conducted themselves off the field, how they represented the city of Chicago, how they brought together black and white and Latin and Asian, in one particular area to root for one singular case like I’ve never seen here in Chicago,’’ Williams said Wednesday from Tarkington School of Excellence, after an event for a program aimed at preventing violence and dropouts in at-risk youths. “So, if somebody is going to tell me that they’re now going to take away from 13-year-olds who have given so much to the city, I’ve got to ask where their heart is.

JRW made me proud, however, telling them that they’re still champions is just plain wrong and harms more than it helps. Why? It teaches them that reputation, winning, and trophies are more valuable and desired than character. Reputation is who others think we are. Character is who we really are. Other than Jesus, no one exemplifies this more than Daniel.

Daniel – A Man of Character

The exemplary personal character of Daniel makes him a favorite Bible personality for many. He is one of only a handful of men in the Bible about whom God says nothing negative. Daniel’s private life matched his public life (Daniel 2:48).

As a result, God continually blessed Daniel with wisdom, skills, and favor, as long as He maintained his character and courage. He stayed committed to his convictions, friends, and beliefs even as he rose through the ranks.

How a person deals with the circumstances of life tells you many things about his character. Crisis doesn’t necessarily make character, but it certainly does reveal it. Adversity makes a person choose one of two paths: character or compromise. Every time a leader chooses character, he grows stronger.

“Character is the foundation on which a leader builds his or her life. It all begins with character, because leadership operates on the basis of trust. People will follow a leader only so far as they trust him or her. Character communicates credibility, harnesses respect, creates consistency, and earns trust,” according to John Maxwell.

The best thing parents, coaches, and administrators can do for JRW kids is to teach them how nothing is more important than character. The Maxwell Leadership Bible: Lessons in Leadership from the Word of God is a good place to start. You can get your copy HERE.

Here’s how:

  1. Apologize for any wrongdoings and take ownership of it. The longer it takes you to apologize and own up to it, the more credibility you lose. Character is more than talk. Anyone can say that he has integrity, but action is the real indicator of character. Your character determines who you are and what you do. That’s why you can never separate a leader’s character from his actions. If a persons actions and intentions continually work against each other, look to their character to find out why.
  2. Talent is a gift, but character is a choice. We have no control over a lot of things in life. We don’t get to choose our parents or the circumstances of our birth and upbringing. But we do choose our character. We create it each tie we make choices.
  3. You cannot rise above the limitations of their character. Character will either limit or support a leader, depending on its strength. It will always determine whether a leader finishes well.

Everyone asking for wins/championships to be restored and circulating petitions, stop enabling our kids with a fairy tale of a championship. Stop cheating them out of more than they’ve already had to deal with. Stop lying to them.

Steve Rosenbloom said it best:

Nothing ruins a good Little League story like bad Little League parents, and nothing makes it worse than people enabling kids into believing something that’s just flat wrong.

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