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 yelled at me by 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.
For more information regarding sportsmanship, click on these links:
- Changing The Game Project | John O'Sullivan
The mission of the Changing the Game Project is to ensure that we return youth sports to our children, and put the ‘play’ back in ‘play ball.’
- Sportsmanship (for Parents) - Nemours KidsHealth
One of the most important goals of kids' sports is helping children develop a sense of good sportsmanship. Here's how to set a good example for your kids.
- Teaching Kids Good Sportsmanship
Youth sports offers great opportunities for teaching good sportsmanship. Here's how to do it, with advice from a sports psychologist and a physician.
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This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.
© 2009 Beth100