Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Be a Good Sport Parent

 When you look up "sport" on the online dictionary (Dictionary.com) the third definition is this:

diversion; recreation; pleasant pastime.  
And yet, how many of us parents see our kid's sports as this?  A diversion?  no.  Our children's sports activities are played in order to fill our days and give us much more than a simple diversion.  Why else would we be hooting and hollering, yelling at coaches and refs?  Ranting about bad calls and unfair practices!  I think not.  Much more than a simple diversion.
Recreation.  Well, that sounds all fine and good.  We don't want our children to be fat oafs like the Dursley child in Harry Potter.  They need recreation.  Especially when recess and gym class are being cut in favor of academics.  But recreation sounds so purely enjoyable.  Recreation never got anyone a scholarship.  Sports are supposed to be teaching tenacity and discipline and toughness, but I digress.
Pleasant pastime?  Who are you kidding.  Have you seen the cost of sports lately?  I mean, it starts with the uniforms and the shoes and equipment, but then it includes the cost of transporting them from state to state, and the snacks and the meals and the end of the season parties.  Where is the pleasant in all of this?
My question is this, Where has this definition of sport gone?  Parents have kidnapped it and held it hostage.  We have replaced it with do or die competitiveness beginning in preschool.  We have demanded that our children play more than park district or little league.  They need travel sports and leagues that offer elite interstate matches.  We need to push and push and yell and yell.  We need to attend not every game but every practice as well-where we critique the coaching and the officiating and anything else that might stand between our child and stardom. Can I just offer this simple reminder to all Sports Parents:

CHILL OUT PEOPLE!  Let your child play sports in order to have fun.  Watch them play and cheer them on but leave your own ego at the door.  Allow coaches to coach and officials to officiate.  Remember that they are only human, and make mistakes.  But they are volunteering there time and doing the best that they can.  And don't scream at your child to correct anything that he/she does.  It is not your job.  Just enjoy the game.  And after the game is over, get in to the car and simply say the following phrase.  "I hope you had fun, I did because I love seeing you out there doing your best."  End of story.  That is all you need to do as a good sport parent. Let's all collectively agree to end the madness so that our children can truly experience the definition of sport: diversion, recreation and pleasant pastime!

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