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Community Commentary -- Paul Manderino

The mistake with the cheerleading issue -- as I see it and try to

understand it -- was made due to the actions of two leaders. First the

cheer coach, who was not involved with the selection process, however

advised the girls that they should have made it. All participants prior


to the tryouts accepted the process, however, when results of some were

not the results they thought they were entitled to, they question the


They first appealed to a coach who, instead of supporting the system


and teaching them to be gracious losers, intensified the problem, which

they told to their parents. It did not matter what the coach’s opinion on

the situation was; she had no bearing on the outcome except to raise

expectations of those who did not make it. This action only seemed to

validate the parents’ opinion of their daughters’ entitlement to be on

the team.

The second leader, the principal, was also at fault. Instead of

teaching students and parents to accept and abide by the rules, he tried


to appease everyone. In all competition, there are winners and losers.

Everyone loves winners, however a gracious loser is a lost quality.

Leaders and parents who don’t teach children how to handle adversity are

only setting them up for bigger disappointments in life when they have to

deal with reality in a real world.

Michael Jordan was cut as a sophomore from his high school team. That

only made him more determined to be the best.

[New England Patriots veteran quarterback] Drew Bledsoe was recently


quoted when he lost his starting job to Tom Brady and not grumbling about

it. “It’s real simple. It’s the way I was taught. It’s the way I was

brought up. Handle yourself with dignity and self-respect regardless of

what the situation is. That’s always the choice you have. You look at it

and do the right thing.”

I only hope that parents and leaders today can still find these values

to be important, instead of winning at any cost.


Newport Beach