The last couple of weeks provided a contrast for Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School — on one hand celebrating a historic performance by the boys cross-country team bringing home a state championship; on the other, two players on the boys soccer team suspended after an ugly incident in a playoff game against Norwell, where they shoved and verbally abused an official.
Sports can bring out passion, but it should also bring out discipline.
In the case of the boys cross-country team, the runners clearly had a disciplined approach to their sport, and their passion could be seen in their jubilation at winning it all. They understood their roles on the team, and each performed at his highest levels to bring home a banner.
In the case of the boys soccer team, two players allowed their passion to overcome their discipline, and they’ve paid the price both with a suspension by the MIAA and unspecified school sanctions. Their coach is also facing a two-game suspension because ultimately it was his responsibility to teach them in those passionate moments to keep their cool. But let’s not forget, they are kids, and ultimately it will be the lessons learned from this experience — or not — that will provide the defining moment, not the incident itself.
Finally, there was another recent sporting event on the Island, which involved the MVRHS unified basketball program. It was a terrific scene as students with disabilities from MVRHS and Falmouth played alongside their classmates before a packed gymnasium. There were tears and cheers as the high school program accepted its Special Olympics banner for this terrific new program.
We could all learn something from that special day. Play for the joy and don’t take it all too seriously.