Parents and Youth Sports

Published: 2021-10-07 14:10:10
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Category: Parents

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On a gorgeous, sunny, Sunday afternoon a mother and father walk their son to the field for his soccer game. All the while smiling, and encouraging their son to have “FUN”. The soccer game begins and so does the yelling. “Move faster son”, “You should have gotten that ball”, “Can’t you run faster than that? ”, “That was such a stupid move”, “Don’t be so dumb”. Things only get worse. The name calling, the arm grabbing start, then the yelling at the other parents and coaches begins.
Louder and louder, finally things escalate to the point of being asked to leave the soccer game. Who would have thought that a 7 year olds soccer game could change this supportive family into the “Wild Parent Beast”. Youth sports seem to invite parents to try to live vicariously through their children. Not only do the children suffer, but those who volunteer (i. e. , coaches, team mom and other parents) do too. The majority of parents sit quietly, supporting their team, cheering only when appropriate.
There are minorities that are trying desperately to live their childhood sports fantasies through their son or daughter. A father whose son was on the Dodgers, a Little League baseball team, came up to a volunteer coach and exclaimed his 4 year old son is a switch hitter and that the coach needs to work with his son to develop this skill. The father expressed that “My son will play Pro-Ball when he is older”. The dream to be a professional baseball player was that of the father, not that of the son.
This parent crossed the line between caring and living Kumar 2 the child’s life for him. This child, when he reaches adulthood, will have boundary issues and not have a clear sense of self. What will he like will be a problem for this boy when grown. Not only does an out of control parent affect the children, but it also affects those who are volunteering to coach the team and all of the other parents. Recently, in little league baseball, an angry parent hit another parent.
He punched him so hard in the head that it sent the man to the hospital. The reason for the fight was over the son’s playing time. The boy that’s father was sent to the hospital, had the advantage of playing more than the boy who’s dad hit him, but was it truly worth going to the hospital? The fear of having aggressive and out of control parents is not far from a reality in most neighborhoods. Having an aggressive parent on the team is a real deterrent to coach, and leaves all of the other parents to be on edge.
The Forest Hills little league has implemented a policy which lets teams acquire points for the player’s parents/teams cheering section. The referee distributes the points after the game has finished. He also takes points away for yelling at the children and any negative connotation. The team with the most points at the end of the season gets to have a pizza party that includes the parents. Their exemplary behavior sets the example for all other teams. There have been several teams that have been kicked out of FHLL for bad parent behavior. Not all youth sporting events have to end with a tragedy.
There are beautiful, sunny Saturday afternoons that involve no yelling and are very positive and fun experiences. Millions of Kumar 3 children actually dream of becoming professional athletes and some actually do accomplish their dream. The days of hot tempers and trying to live vicariously through your children are over! If parents can learn to check their emotional baggage at the door, for their children’s sake, and learn to watch their children play, the life of a child would mean so much more.

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