A father bounded into a youth wrestling match, picked up his son's winning opponent and launched him out of the ring, an episode caught on a home video. After tossing the 11-year-old boy into the air Sunday, the angry father headed toward the cameraman, the father of the airborne boy.
"I was just wrestling, then the guy throws me," the boy, Nick Nasenbeny of suburban Aurora, told WMAQ-TV in Chicago.
Ray Hoffman, the father in the video and a part-time wrestling coach, told the television station he regrets his behavior and feels embarrassed. He said his son's shoulder was injured. Hoffman also said he will no longer be allowed to coach.
Dean Bogess, a wrestling coach who attended the meet, said Nick was using a legal move to pin his opponent and that the referee was about to stop the match when Hoffman intervened."The match was being stopped. He had blown his whistle already," Bogess said.
Nick's father, Dan Nasenbeny, said he was stunned by Hoffman's actions. "I mean, there is a lot of different ways to stop a match. Not to pick up my son and launch him 5 feet, 10 feet in the air," Nasenbeny said.
When ugly acts such as this occur across the country and occasionally make the news, it's nice to remember the ways in which parents and coaches can help guide youth sports by setting a positive example.
Parents can help their kids understand that good sportsmanship includes both small gestures and heroic efforts. It starts with something as simple as shaking hands with opponents before a game and includes acknowledging good plays made by others and accepting bad calls gracefully. Displaying good sportsmanship isn't always easy: It can be tough to congratulate the opposing team after losing a close or important game. But the kids who learn how to do it will benefit in many ways. A child who practices good sportsmanship is likely to carry the respect and appreciation of other people into every other aspect of life.
Adults who emphasize good sportsmanship see winning as just one of several goals they'd like their kids to achieve and remember that actions speak louder than words when fostering this concept. They help young athletes take pride in their accomplishments and in their improving skills, so that the kids see themselves as winners, even if the scoreboard doesn't show the numbers going in their favor.
(Photo provided by Getty Images, taken by Adam Pretty)