You’re letting the team down when you let your emotions get the best of you

Published 6:37 pm Tuesday, February 10, 2015

When you are in the heat of a moment, muscles aching and body drenched in sweat at the end of a game, it’s tempting to let an opponent get the best of you.

What adds fuel to the fire is the scoreboard. It’s far easier to get physically defensive when you are on the losing end as opposed to if you are in a winning position.

That’s when the fights start, and that’s what happened last Friday when the Bearcat basketball team played the Americus-Sumter Panthers at the Bainbridge Gym.

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With just seconds left on the clock and the Panthers winning 69-66, somebody said something that struck a nerve in one of Bainbridge’s players, and it all went downhill from there. The Bearcats cleared the bench to enter the fight, or separate it—it’s not exactly clear which one it was.

Now the Bearcats are faced with a predicament. Starting junior point guard Tyree Crump, the Bearcats’ leading scorer, has been suspended for four games right here at the beginning of the Region 1-AAAA Tournament. He was originally suspended for just two games, but thanks to an earlier incident this season, the penalties added up. On Dec. 19, 2014, he was suspended for a couple games after being called for two technical fouls against Thomas County Central.

Also facing a two-game suspension is everyone who cleared the Bainbridge bench. The Bearcats are left with starters Trevon Shaw, Mykel Thomas, Devontae Jones and Malik Middleton. The fifth starter, and those to fill the bench, will all be called up from the J.V. and ninth grade teams.

Bainbridge’s basketball players are infinitely talented. Coach Rickey McCullough develops them into some outstanding young players, and it’s been a thrill to watch them for the past two seasons. Crump has even already verbally committed to the Georgia Bulldogs team, with other offers undoubtedly to come soon.

But you got to keep your mouth shut on the court.

It’s so easy to let someone get under your skin. Anyone who has played sports has been there. But let the score do the talking, and it you aren’t winning, you probably shouldn’t say anything to begin with. The taunting doesn’t get any better when you move on to play at a college level or an NFL level. The best players learn how to deal with the distractions on the court, and they use their anger, frustration or disgust to practice and improve their game.

There’s no better way to burst an opponent’s bubble than to score bucket after bucket.