This is the final weekend for most school winter sport, yes all good things come to an end, but it has been another great season enjoyed by so many.

There will be plenty of excited kids, and parents – but let's make sure we oldies don't get too pumped.

No doubt there will be some exciting final games – but let's make sure we keep it fun, remember we adults are there to support and encourage, so if you think you are at risk of getting too intense, take a chill pill.

And if you think a mate is at risk of over-intensity, be a legend, mates don't let mates get too intense, give them a chill pill too.


It's brilliant to see so many kids out there having fun, and developing long-lasting friendships.

Deep down, really deep down for some of us, we know this is what sport is all about. But it is very easy for all of us to get caught up in the moment – no one is immune to over-intensity, for some it is already spewing out everywhere, while for others it lies inert, waiting to erupt.

And no sane person wants an unexplained eruption of intensity. What we do want is to see our kids getting all the social development and building some healthy lifestyle habits for physical exercise, and maintaining engagement in sport for mental well-being going forward.

Competing in sport is still the main objective, so they need to go for it when they are out there, that is all part of the fun. It's not much fun going half-hearted and getting one's butt kicked.

And if they go on to perform at higher levels, then that is a nice bonus, but as parents, coaches and supporters we sometimes struggle to find that balance between being too soft and too hard. In the cold light of day it is easy, a "no-brainer", but in the heat of the moment all that is rational can go out the window.

We need to maintain that tricky balance between encouraging them enough so that they get the best experiences, but not going too far into that intense zone.

It will always be a grey area, and everyone has their own personality and style that works, a coach/team relationship for one team might be quite different to another's, but both can work, so we can't be too quick to judge until we know the dynamics of the team relationships.

But there are certain actions for which there is no excuse, especially at the younger age-groups, and especially when interacting with the ref, the other team's players, and the other teams supporters – over-intensity in those areas is an obvious no-no.


Remember, kids watch the every move of their coach and parents, and on game day our more extreme human behaviours can come to the fore, which can be great, but can be bad too, so like it or not, we will be modelling behaviours into our kids.

Let's finish on a high this weekend, and think about what final lasting memories of the season we want the kids to have.

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Try encouraging both teams, connect with the other parents and opposition coaches, demonstrate good sporting spirit to the kids.

If we don't demonstrate those things, what are we teaching them? Respecting others and self-responsibility for life, or excuses? Blame the ref, blame the "cheating" opponent, blame the weather . . .

The only positive about kids coming up against unsavoury characters and experiences in sport, is that they learn about the real world we live in, no one is perfect.

Developing self-responsibility in our youth, and managing the challenges of life seems to be an increasing issue for our society these days, and in many ways sport can mirror life.

Just like life, sport has its ups and downs - you can put your heart and soul into something, and still lose.

Through sport we can learn to win with humility, but also learn to lose, learn it's okay to be disappointed and that it's normal to feel down, but with the right support we can learn how to then respond and move on positively.

So into the final weekend of the school sport season, remember what it's all about. And if you need to, be a bloody legend and stop someone getting too intense on the side-lines, take a chill pill.

• Marcus Agnew is the health and sport development manager at Hawke's Bay Community Fitness Centre Trust and is also a lecturer in sports science at EIT.