In Reading, Massachusetts, one parent was beaten to death by another parent after a scuffle at a youth hockey game (Sachs). In Palin Beach, Florida, a father of a little league player was sentenced to three years in prison after taking a gun and pointing it at a coach (Gehring). In Port St. Lucie, Florida, a headline in the evening paper read, "Spectator Bites off Man's Ear at Youth Baseball Game" (Pallerino). Why would parents act in such negative ways? They are too competitive at youth athletic events.
During my five years refereeing youth sports, I have seen many examples of negative behavior. This past September, a parent, whom I have known for a few years, approached me after a basketball game her child's team had lost. I knew something was going to happen, but there was nothing I could do. Mind you, this is a 7th grade tournament, so the children were 11-and-12 year-olds. The mother asked me loudly, "Why did you tell my daughter to shut up?" I replied that I only told her daughter to hush because her daughter told me quite hatefully that she wasn't the only person that fouled. Now, granted at the time this child was losing the game, I knew that she wasn't feeling too good about herself, so I had told her calmly that she didn't need to be disrespectful. However, as I tried to explain this to the mother, she told me that I do not have the right to do such a thing. She neglected to understand that referees frequently levy technical fouls for disrespectful behavior on the court, but I had just given a warning. I never imagined such a response when the game was over. This mother cursed me with every vulgarity imaginable. She also told me that I was the loser of the community and that I could never do anythin...
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...search.epnet.com. 2 Nov. 2003.
Cox, RachelS. (2001, Mar. 23). Abstract. CO Researcher. 11.11. Oct. 29,2003. <http://library.cqpress.com/cqresearchers>
Gehring, John. "More Schools Calling Foul on Unsportsmanlike Behavior." Education Week 21.7 (17 Oct. 2001): 6. EBSCOhost: Academic Search Premier. Camden-Carroll Lib. http://search.epnet.com/direct. 31 Oct. 2003.
Hypes, Julia. Personal Interview. 23 Nov. 2003.
Pallerino, Michael J. "Is the Rash of Parental Violence at Youth Sporting Events
Increasing, or Are We Just Now Recognizing it as a Problem?" SportingKid Magazine. National Alliance for Youth Sports. 2001. http://www.navs.org. 28 Nov. 2003.
Sachs, Michael L. "Lighten Up Parents!" USA Today 129.2666 (Nov. 2000): 62-63.
EBSCOhost: Academic Search Premier. Camden-Carroll Lib. Morehead State University. http://search.epnet.com . 31 Oct. 2003.