A Growing Problem?
The abbreviated answer is, yes. First, let me say that I have been around youth sports for a very long time. I have coached for the last fifteen years at all levels in many different sports. AYSO, CYSA, U6-U19, Little League, Pony Baseball, basketball, volleyball, you name it, I’ve probably coached it. I enjoy it. I also spent two years as the President of San Carlos CYSA. Being in those positions for an extended period of time allows you to see the many great things about youth sports, but unfortunately, you also see the ugly side as well.
Let me also start off by saying that I am certainly guilty of perhaps being more frustrated than I should be when coaching a game. There is never an excuse for it. The question that I am posing is whether parental behavior at youth sporting events has gotten worse over the past few years. My feeling is that it has. In the past few years I have witnessed, assaults on referees, an umpire being pushed into the bushes after a game, parents scolding other parents, parents throwing water bottles onto the field when disagreeing with a call, parents screaming not only at their own kids, but others as well.
Most recently, San Carlos AYSO had to send out an email to remind parents in the Girls Under 8 Division of the following issues they have had with regard to parents over the first two weeks of play….please remember that these are 6 and 7 year old little girls:
(1) Parents are not to offer to pay players money for goals scored. Apparently, last weekend there was an offer by one parent to pay their player $20 for a goal when the team was already soundly beating the other team.
(2) Excessive celebrations by the parents of the winning team for scoring goals when the team is already winning by four or five goals.
(3) The need to eliminate demoralizing losses when the dominant team keeps scoring after there is a five goal differential.
Most Get It
The vast majority of parents attending San Carlos sporting events get it. They are well behaved and do everything possible to promote good sportsmanship. The question is whether that minority which has behaved so poorly, is growing. Taking a view of the totality of the events and frequency of what I have seen over the past 15 years, I would say that it has. The increasing pressure that is applied to kids today, spills over onto the court, field and diamonds in San Carlos. Some parents fall right in line and become excessively overjoyed with good play, and increasingly disgusted with poor play. It’s an easy trap to fall into for some.
If you have had an experience that you would like to share on this subject, or an opinion on the matter, we would love to hear from you. Feel free to post your comment below.