My son has been playing sports since he was a little boy and now that he is getting older, we have been signing him up for club sports teams as well as school teams. He loves to play sports and is quite the athlete; however, lately we have been noticing a few things that have been bothering his father and I about what happens while he is involved on these teams.
A lot of the parents seem to be more competitive than the kids that are playing. We have always taught our son to show good sportsmanship no matter what the outcome of the game is. For example, when the game is over we encourage our son to shake hands and say “good job” to the other players on the other team. We also taught our son that if someone gets hurt, no matter what team they are on, that he should help the hurt player up, and so on.
At the last game we attended (on a new team we just signed him up on), another player on the other team was hurt and so my son tried to help him up just like we taught him. One of the parents on my son’s team shouted that he was wasting game time by walking over and helping the other boy up. My husband and I could not believe our ears. During the same game, the boys were showing respect for each other and good sportsmanship by shaking hands with one another after the game ended with the opposing team. Yet, a different parent started yelling from the bleachers that the game was fixed and that the coaches didn’t do a good job, all for everyone else to hear.
What’s disappointing is the kids were having such a great time just playing and the parents were actually the ones ruining the game by complaining and showing examples of bad sportsmanship. The kids had better sportsmanship than the parents. By the parents shouting out disrespectful comments to where all of the children could hear, in my opinion, was giving all of the players a bad example of how they should act at a game.
Do these parents not realize the example they are setting? Whatever happened to just letting kids be kids and to have fun and just play and enjoy the game?
You are correct. Kids should just be able to have fun on these club sports teams while the parents sit in the stands cheering their children on without any displays of bad sportsmanship. By showing bad sportsmanship, the parents are setting a bad example not only for their own child, but for the other children playing.
That is outstanding that you and your husband teach your son about good sportsmanship because you are building and setting up a foundation for him to carry with him for every single team he is ever on for the rest of his life. Yet, good sportsmanship doesn’t just stay on the field or on the court, it is a life-skill he can take with him outside of sports. For example, it is a skill he can use in the classroom by encouraging other students when they get a right answer or good grade on a science project, or even in the workplace when he gets older by congratulating a fellow co-worker on a promotion. So the fact that your son is attaining this skill at a young age is very impressive. It also shows leadership among the other children who may not have been taught the importance of good sportsmanship and they can follow your son’s lead.
Parents need to realize that they are at the game to show support for their child and the team. They need to remember that kids look up to adults and mirror their behavior. So if a child is playing on a baseball team and some other child’s parent starts yelling negative words from the stands, that parent needs to realize that they are influencing every single child on the field at that very moment, and that is not setting a good example.
Club sports teams are provided for children to improve their physical skills, while also learning about teamwork and staying healthy. It is not a second chance for parents to relive their lost childhood dreams of becoming a famous baseball or basketball player through their child. Children are innocent and do not deserve that type of punishment. It is not fair to them. The teams are about the children so parents need to let their competitive side go and let the kids have a good time while they learn a lot about the specific sport they are playing. The bottom line: let kids be kids and just have fun.
Thanks for teaching your son about the value of good sportsmanship. Hopefully, the other parents will lead by your example.
Ahwatukee Foothills resident Michelle “Mikey” Arana is a 2003 graduate of Mountain Pointe High School. She offers free peer advice, however, Mikey is not licensed or trained, just a fellow friend to the community. All inquiries made to Mikey will remain anonymous unless legal issues occur. She can be reached at www.myaskmikey.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.