Parents Sportsmanship

Amie - posted on 03/01/2010 ( 5 moms have responded )




by Mark Hyman (Subscribe to Mark Hyman's posts) Nov 5th 2009 7:28AM
Is parent sportsmanship at our kids' games in a steep decline?

That's an easy one to answer, since examples of adults behaving badly on youth sports sidelines are about as easy to find as the games themselves.

Today we heard about former Oakland Raiders player Jeremy Brigham, who went to blows with Alameda County supervisor Scott Haggerty. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Brigham accused Haggerty - "whom he had just fired as the assistant coach of his Pleasanton squad of 10- and 11-year-old boys" - of leaking plays to an opposing pee-wee football team. This scuffle is under investigation.

And just last month, a football practice near Boston abruptly turned into a bizarre boxing match between a father of a young player and the team's coach. Pop Warner is the largest national youth football league for kids not yet in high school. The Boston Globe reported that the father suffered serious injuries, the coach was suspended and the small community of Wilmington was thrown off-balance by the incident.
Here are the highlights (or low lights, as it were):

Michael VonKahle was escorting his 12-year-old-son Tyler to football practice. The VonKahles arrived 10 minutes late whereupon the coach, William Reynolds, instructed Tyler to run some laps to make up for missing the start of the workout.

Tyler's father objected, saying that he was responsible for the mistake, not his son, according to an account in the Globe.

The two men moved their argument away from the practice. Then punches flew. According to the police report cited by the Globe, each man accused the other of throwing the first punch. VonKahle's injuries included a broken nose, a concussion and a damaged eye socket. Reynolds has been charged with aggravated assault and battery, The Globe reported.

It isn't the only alleged example of really bad behavior at youth sports events of late. In Monaca, Penn., the father of a high school football player got into an argument with a referee at halftime. Before it was over, police had subdued the football dad, Thomas Phillips, with a Taser, according to Pennsylvania's Beaver County Times.

These incidents contribute to the perception that adults are poor role models for good sportsmanship. In fact, when adults were asked about modern sportsmanship behavior, 80 percent of those older than 60 remember their earlier days as more civil.

Could it be that we simply hear more about rude, overbearing sports parents than we did in years past, thanks to CNN, ESPN and Web sites like this one? Is it possible that though parent behavior at youth sports games can be rude, even loutish, that their parents were just as obnoxious and vulgar back in the day?


Well what do you ladies think?

I know this can range to different sports for different countries. In Canada some of the hockey parents are absolutely insane. I can remember going to games when I was in school, right from elementary, and listening to the parents yelling and screaming at the refs. It doesn't seem to have improved much, except now things seem to be getting physical more instead of just verbal. The coaches are just as bad though, they are always push, push, pushing. Striving for more. Which is all well but kids can only take so much.

Aren't sports supposed to be fun for them as well as a learning experience?

Is it something you consider before enrolling your child in a certain sport? I know I did. It's one of the big reasons I did not put our son in hockey. I know myself and I know my husband, we both can be hot heads and if a coach or another parent had the audacity to say something disparaging my temper would blow. Which would then take away from the fun the kids should be having. I don't want to embarrass my kids and I don't feel I'm taking anything away from them by making them wait a little bit for certain sports. If they even choose they want to participate in them in the future. They seem pretty happy with the all the activities they do now as it is, so maybe I'll dodge a bullet completely and not have to deal with it at all. =)

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Ez - posted on 03/03/2010




Problems with parents on the sidelines of children's sporting events has been an issue here in Aus too. Punches have been thrown, resulting in brawls. Officials have been threatened and intimidated. There are parts oif Sydney that can not get enough ref for junior rugby league games because they are so scared of the parents.

I am about the most competitive person you're likely to meet. I played competitive sport from age 6, and reached state and national level as a teenager. I played hard and didn't like to lose, but we never had this problem with lunatic parents. Luckily I have a daughter, and most of the problems here are at boys' sport.

Sharon - posted on 03/03/2010




i'm not a big sports person but I thought boo'ing the Ref was part of it?

My kids all play soccer and they just can't wait for the new season to roll around. I'm so glad they enjoy it! Our league is strict.

You CANNOT confront a ref, on the field or especially off the field. You CANNOT contest their calls or comment on them.

You cannot coach your children from the sideline, only yell words of encouragment "go marky go!" and stuff like that.

Coaches are only allowed to be positive. No negative comments...

I warned my husband before our first game for my younger son that no aggressive yelling was allowed. OOPS, he got a warning in 15 minutes. You get 3 warnings and then you're banned from the fields. You can be instantly banned too.

In some ways this league is very namby pamby about the games. which I'm not thrilled about. The kids know it too. My daughter looks forward to being old enough to play in games where they actually keep score. The league is retarded about this, if they think the kids aren't keeping score, they're out of their damn minds. The upper leagues keep score.

Amie - posted on 03/03/2010




I don't mean so much the older children. (Though some of those parents are just as nuts LOL) But Elementary and younger. Hockey here starts when they're 4 (if you choose to put them in it). At the pre-school and elementary level some take it too far. =|

Competition is good for kids though. I agree with that, I never would have been as good at the sports I played without it. However if my mom or dad was there screaming like a maniac or throwing punches it would have taken away from it for me. I wouldn't have wanted to play. My parents were embarrassing enough though without adding to it. LOL!

Lindsay - posted on 03/03/2010




I am a sports nut. I love the competition and the passion....fights, not so much! It's all a learning experience but it can definately be taken too far. My kids are still young and the sports have ZERO competition involved. It's completely geared towards having fun and "learning" the fundamentals of the game. I am sadly disappointed in them though because the kids don't learn much when their are no scores, no fouls, no outs, nothing. They do not strive to win because there are no winners or losers. There is no motivation or passion. And to me, that is taking it a bit too far also.

I played sports since I was old enough to do so. We always had that competition level and it made us play harder to hopefully get a win. But we also learned from our losses and came to understand that you can lose gracefully. You just pick yourself up and try harder the next time you hit the field.

I look forward to the day that my kids are old enough to be in true competitive sports. And I'll be there the first day of sign-ups to get them in! =)

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