June 1, 2014

Everything that is wrong with youth sports

Friday night and all day yesterday we spent at the baseball fields cheering on Crash's team as they competed for the championship.  His team won their age category for our town, and played in a tournament against the other top teams that make up our youth baseball league.

I live in a smallish town.  Our league is made up of other smallish towns.  Some smaller than others, in both size and amount of character.

Now, I have seen the antics of parents on YouTube and the evening news.  I have been to a sporting event or two hundreds in my life.  I have seen and heard people that were out of control.  I have watched the idiocy of street riots after college and professional championship games.  I always wondered where those people come from, how they were raised, what atmosphere produces people and actions like that.

Mind you, Crash is our youngest child.  Our older kids have played sports.  We have been witness to many a ridiculous antic, but something has changed - and not for the better - around these parts.

The opposing coaches berated and screamed at the kids.  The fans berated and screamed at the kids.  The fans taunted the opposing team's kids.  The fans used language that wasn't appropriate for an 8U game.

I can understand a loud-mouthed parent or two, but a whole team's worth?.  I can understand a harsh coach having a bad day, but calling time outs to go out and scream at a kid after a missed play?  We had previously played all but one of these teams before, and I can attest to the fact that this is routine behavior.

If there is a silver lining, it is that my kid ended up with a coach and a group of kids and parents that did a stellar job of turning the jeering and name-calling into teachable moments.  Our coach advocated for our kids without arguing or losing his cool on the field.  When the kids that were supposed to be shaking hands at the end of the game instead spit insults at our kids, our coach told his players how proud he was that they didn't react, and spoke to them of integrity and class.
'We' (society) missed the boat by allowing the bullies and shrieking harpies from our youth to procreate.  They didn't grow up or learn to manage their anger, now they project all that immaturity and hate onto their children as they live vicariously through them.

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