Parent behavior and youth sports
Original post made by Steele Harris, Menlo Park, on Feb 28, 2007
Now that I have witnessed for myself the negative consequences of such behavior, it seems worthwhile to help spread the word about the dangers of overzealous parents at children's athletic functions.
This parent's tirade was directed at people whom he deemed responsible for the one-game suspension of two of his son's teammates. Their suspension was a result of conduct off the field. Of course, the team lost its next game.
It is unfortunate that the following day a few of the players were still fuming about their loss, looking to blame their defeat on player suspensions. Yet it is easy to understand why they would not see a problem with complaining about something outside of their control. They watched a parent berate several people close to the decision to suspend players during and after the game for all the players and other parents to hear.
The damage here extends beyond the misguided message that "winning is everything." The challenge now is how to convince these impressionable youths that while winning enhances the fun they are supposed to be having, both are secondary to the etiquette of proper sportsmanship.
Sadly, the idea that personal integrity is everything is a more difficult concept for them to embrace when it is not exhibited by their biggest role models.