Youth Athletics

opinionated Essay
1438 words
1438 words

Youth Athletics

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...

... middle of paper ... 2 Nov. 2003.

Cox, RachelS. (2001, Mar. 23). Abstract. CO Researcher. 11.11. Oct. 29,2003. <>

Gehring, John. "More Schools Calling Foul on Unsportsmanlike Behavior." Education Week 21.7 (17 Oct. 2001): 6. EBSCOhost: Academic Search Premier. Camden-Carroll Lib. 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. 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. . 31 Oct. 2003.

In this essay, the author

  • Analyzes how parents are too competitive at youth athletic events. in reading, massachusetts, one parent was beaten to death by another parent after a scuffle.
  • Recounts how they have seen many examples of negative behavior during their five years of refereeing youth sports.
  • Opines that parents believe that competition gives them an excuse to act the way they do, and that if they pay their money to get into the building, they can act however they choose.
  • Narrates how a parent ran onto the floor after their officiating partner, while watching an eighth-grade girls' game, the opposing team lost by one point. they heard everything from "i'll wait all night till you get out of that room."
  • Opines that parents want the best for their children, but behaving this way doesn't show them appropriate respect. many children cannot look up to their parents as role models if they display vulgar language.
  • Opines that the over-emphasis that youth athletics and recreational activities have on winning is a problem — success in youth sports does not necessarily mean winning. recreational leagues require equal playing time.
  • Explains that many coaches try to subvert the "all children playing equally" rule, allowing only their best two or three players to handle the ball and shoot. the other six or seven children get to "participate," but they just run around hopelessly.
  • Opines that bad parental and coaching involvement can have two effects: a shortage of officials, and fans, coaches, or players turning violent against officials.
  • Explains that if parents keep up this type of behavior, their kids may not want to participate in youth sports.
  • Explains that the national recreation and park association and nays are heading up "time out for better sports" for kids. the initiative requires parents and coaches to enroll in a 30-minute sportsmanship-training program.
  • Explains that a recent survey polling students about sports showed that the number one reason kids play is to have fun. if children really don't care about winning, why should parents and coaches focus on winning?
  • Cites cipriani, nicole, and cox, rachels. on "sportsmanship 101—for parents."
  • Opines that the rash of parental violence at youth sporting events is increasing, or are we just now recognizing it as a problem?
Get Access