Parents really need to learn to play nice at sports



With my kids being involved in sports these past few years, I’ve had my first real experiences with those kinds of parents I’ve heard about who sometimes don’t know how to behave themselves on the sidelines.

Having never been a huge sports fanatic, it took me awhile to simply get used to the competitiveness of being a sports parent. I’ve listened to parents on the sidelines and in the bleachers yelling both in support and in criticism of their kids and at first I was a little taken aback by some of the things they’ve said.

I’m learning real quickly though it’s completely normal to push your kids a little to make them aspire to be the best. I’m no longer surprised when someone shouts to their kid to tell them they made a bad play or to pay better attention.

While I’ve discovered it’s natural for parents to push their kids a little when it comes to sports, there’s some behavior I’m having a hard time accepting.

At one football game I heard a parent yell to his son that he needed to tackle someone the next time he had the chance.

“Hit someone!” the dad said. The parent then muttered something about the kid being stupid. While the child didn’t hear the parent, I couldn’t help but be amazed someone could regard their child as “stupid” because they made a mistake in a football game.

It’s a sport. It’s a game. The kids are there to have fun. Granted, organized sports teach kids more than just how to play the game. They learn about teamwork and sportsmanship. But there’s no reason to call your kid stupid because they made a mistake.

I’d say the worst display I’ve seen from parents was a couple years ago at my son’s football game. As his team was warming up, the two teams that had just finished playing were coming off the field and the parents from that game were packing up to go. Suddenly shouting erupted from the crowd and I turned to see two women struggling, one punched the other and they both grabbed each other’s hair.

Other parents got involved to break them up, kids were screaming and officials stepped in to order the brawling parents off the field. Then the police showed up. The fight apparently had nothing to do with the game, but was more about personal issues between the women. Regardless it was the wrong place and time for them to have a brawl.

My advice would be take it somewhere else, don’t start hitting each other at a kid’s football game. And in general, I hope all parents remember it’s just a game — have fun and lighten up a little.

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