I’ve written this column before. Maybe too many times. Or maybe not often enough.
It has to do with the behavior of parents at youth sport events. I try to be positive with everything that I put in this space — I really do — but some of the behavior that I’ve seen through the years is just so bad, so egregious, that I just have to speak up.
And it seems that the younger the child playing, the worse the behavior of their parents.
Just recently I watched a basketball game of 10- and 11-year-old girls. I got there early and the game before was running late so I saw most of that game.
Oh. My. Goodness.
The behavior of too many of the parents and one of the coaches was truly ridiculous.
The parents of one team complained about every call that didn’t go their way. They wanted traveling on every play. And a foul called on the other team every time the ball was touched.
Speaking of game officials, youth league officials have the hardest job in sports. For very little pay.
And I have yet to see an official that was trying to manipulate the outcome of the game. They are all out there to make sure that it is a fair game, called both ways.
Oh that’s my least favorite yell. “Call it both ways.” Well, if your kid wouldn’t hack at the ball every time they guarded someone, maybe they wouldn’t be called for fouling so much.
At the age that these girls were playing, the game is a bit sloppy. A referee could call something on literally every play. But the officials generally let them
play, calling only the worst of the fouls and walking only when they have to.
Parents, leave them alone! Be more concerned with your son or daughter grasping the basics of the game than whether or not they win championships or not. Believe me, youth sports are not where championships are won.
“But we want to build a championship mentality in our kids.” Nope. Doesn’t work that way. What you want to do is to build a love for the game in your children. That is what will determine their ultimate success in playing whatever sport they choose or which chooses them.
And the coaches. In that game that I watched, one coach, quite young, was calm and collected. She truly coached her kids. The other coach stomped and yelled and ran up and down the sidelines.
I was on the sidelines with Bobby Knight one time.
This guy was worse than him. And remember, these were 10- and 11-year-old girls.
Unreal. Guess whose team won?
I saw one team with $200 uniforms and $200 monogrammed gear bags. I saw one 10-year-old with kinesiotape on her knee (totally worthless). I saw more video cameras than you’ll see on the sidelines of a 5-star recruit’s game. Parents, don’t video your kid’s games and then review it with them later. Don’t talk to them about the game on the way home. If they want to talk to you about the game, they’ll bring it up. I guess my basic advice for parents is just to relax. Enjoy the games your kids are playing. And give them the latitude to enjoy it.