Monday, August 29, 2005

Kids and sports

I spent Sunday afternoon at a Pop Warner football game and saw youth sports up close and very personal. My son plays in the 90-pound division and while he was playing I was volunteering on the chain gang, moving the down markers.

It still amazes me how parents and coaches can't control themselves when it comes to their children and sports. I am not naive, having worked in sports journalism for 25 years. But the language and vitriol toward referees and kids that may miss a play is sad. An unsportsmanlike conduct penalty is not enough.

There wasn't a kid who didn't leave everything on the field, trying to please and trying to succeed. Football is a rough sport and often produces bumps and bruises and tears of pain in a 9-year-old boy. But it's the other tears that hurt more. Tears of humiliation when a coach or parent gets in a player's face for a missed play and goes way too far.

It happened yesterday and it happens every day. There is so much good that goes on in youth sports and these incidents are few and far between, yet they do exist.

As parents and coaches, we have to regulate ourselves. Speak out when you see it. Identify those that are obusive. It is the only way.


At 11:10 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with you. I was a sports journalist for three years and covered rec sports in particular. I actually did stories on it.

I was an athlete, myself, and my parents never acted that way. They were always happy to watch me play.

At 2:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, you wrote about something besides TO, I'm impressed.
We must remember that these coaches are volunteers and without them, there wouldn't be football for our 9-year-olds. Speak out? I can think of something better than that, become a coach yourself.

At 2:39 PM, Blogger Jim Jenks said...

Volunteers are important, no question. Volunteers that verbally abuse kids and referees are not needed. Thanks for your comment.


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