Parents and Sportsmanship

I hung my head in shame, not because I missed scoring the goal, but because I can hear you, my parents, screaming at me from the stands. The words are hurled at me with anger. The words are hurtful and directed at me. I am ashamed for not being able to live up to your expectations. I cannot bear to look at you in the stands because I know you are shaking your fists at me, standing and shouting insults at me.

As I head back to the bench, my teammates pat me on the shoulder and the back. Each one has an encouraging word for me -- nice try, you'll get it next time, stay open and I'll pass it to you again. Coach smiles at me when I sit down. He walks over and taps me on my head. He speaks to me, but I can't hear his words. The only words I can hear are those being voiced to me by my you. Finally, Coach walks away.

My head is no longer in the game. My team can accept my mistake. Why can't you? I am bewildered. My confusion quickly rises to anger. Why are you belittling me? Why are you not supporting me when I need your support when I need it the most? Why are you being so selfish?

As a player on the field, there is nothing more than I want than to be an integral part of my team because when I succeed, the team succeeds. We don't blame each other for losses and we celebrate together with every win. Coach never criticizes us in a negative tone. He never raises his voice or gets angry with us. He has the patience to teach us repetitively until we understand the concepts and can deliver them. He helps us keep focused, on ourselves, our team and our goals. He brings the best out in each of us. Best of all, he reminds us all the time that the spirit of the game is to have fun and enjoy what we are playing.

I am sitting here on the bench watching my team play. They are so excited and Coach is ecstatic with our play. Why aren't you more like Coach? Do you understood how your behavior affects me, my teammates and the other parents? Why can't you be proud of me for trying?

I am here on the field because I love the game. I play for myself and my teammates. I am playing for the pure pleasure of playing. Please, don't take that away from me. Watch us play, be supportive, and please, stop being angry when I do not live up to your expectations. We are, after all, just kids learning to enjoy the game just like you did when you were young.


Copyright 2009


Beth100 profile image

Beth100 5 years ago from Canada Author

Husky1970 -- Thank you!! I've been overwhelmed with life these past few months, but I will be dropping in to read and comment more on your hubs. I've always enjoyed reading them. :)

Hockey players and lacrosse players are common victims of parental tyrades in the stands. It's very hurtful and sad to see the faces of the players turn from enjoyment to embarassment caused by the adults in the stands.

I can tell that you were an awesome coach! The psychology that lies within coaching is one that is understood by many but practiced by few.

Again, thank you for your kind comments and your continued support by reading my articles. :)

Husky1970 5 years ago

What a great hub! Can't believe I haven't found it earlier. Your words definitely resonate with me. I am a former coach, athletic director and parent of 2 kids who are now adults. There is nothing more painful to see in sports than a parent who takes the fun out of sports for a son or daughter.

Check out my hub on the book "Basketball Junkie" for an example of the horrible effects it can have on the life of an athlete.

I really enjoyed this hub and will check out more of your writing.

Beth100 profile image

Beth100 5 years ago from Canada Author

Tom -- I have learned from coaching children in various sports is that they all want to please and do well. The key to a successful team is to teach them to have fun, work together and be tolerant of other's mistakes. Also, a successful team is not necessarily the one that ones the game, but the one that has the greatest heart. Thanks Tom!

tom hellert profile image

tom hellert 5 years ago from home


M\AS A COACH OF SOCCER AND A BASEBALL PARENT - there are alot of different angles to this way to view thins-

i have my teams prents sit on the opposite sidelines - so that the kids can tell where the orders are coming from

I tell them ignore the fans- don't worry what fans say they dont pit you in or take you out of the game- I try not to critisize individuals

If I yell i yell at the whole team-

"everyone is playing defense too" or I'll yell to tour goalie- "Noah, its hard to stop those 3 on 0's1"

i know LLOT OF THE KIDS ON THE BASEBALL TEAM SO i ALWAYS SHOUT WORDS OF ENCOURAEMENT-keep swinging Tyler or baseball ready guys...

I know all the parent ARE NOT AS NICE ...

on my house soccer team where the boys n girls play together I always say- "girls- don't be afraid of the boys- then i compare the foot sizes to say look their feet are not bigger then i sniff a boys and girls shhoe and say but they stink more - the young kids just crack up like crazy... i always watch the parents and if i see them getting mad I go over and give the kid a compliment in front of the parents,,,,

to let the kids know its okk and they are doing good...

good hub


Beth100 profile image

Beth100 6 years ago from Canada Author

Katee -- Thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed it. I hope it wakes up some parents in the stands!

Katee 6 years ago

I like the perspective you wrote from. Very interesting.

Stevennix2001 profile image

Stevennix2001 7 years ago

your welcome. besides, it gives me an excuse to talk to you. ;)

Beth100 profile image

Beth100 7 years ago from Canada Author

Steven -- I'm sooo glad someone out there does!!! lol

Stevennix2001 profile image

Stevennix2001 7 years ago

your welcome. anytime. besides, i always love reading your hubs.

Beth100 profile image

Beth100 7 years ago from Canada Author

Steven -- Thank goodness that wasn't me, either in the stands or on the field. However, I have spent a lot of time as a coach and rooting parent to hear and see this happen. It always breaks my heart to see a player in this situation. It's even harder as a coach for the whole team suffers. Thank you for leaving me a comment on this. :)

Stevennix2001 profile image

Stevennix2001 7 years ago

wow, this is a very good hub. did this actually happen to you when you were young? if so, im sorry to hear that. (hugs) however, i do think that some parents and coaches tend to forget that the reason why we play sports is for fun and comradery. however, with so many kids looking up to selfish pro athletes people tend to get lost with the concept of trying to win games more than having fun.

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