Going to a high school sporting event to watch your child do what they love should be a joyous experience, but over the last decade, it’s not always been a positive experience. There is yelling and tantrums and fights.
And the saddest part? It’s not from the kids but from the parents.
We’ve all seen the sign posted on social media that details some basic rules for parents attending little league games. It’s a great reminder to parents who sometimes take things too far.
After spending years at high school sporting events, I’d like to offer the following “Sporting Event Rules” for how fans (i.e., parents) should behave during any competition they attend.
Sadly, I do believe there is a great need for this because apparently parents sometimes fail to be grown-ups, and we can’t have that.
Based on my experience witnessing the most offensive, immature, rude, and disrespectful actions of adults, this signage is NOT for the students. Most of our kids seem to understand how to behave better than adults. It’s sad that some full-grown people find it acceptable to be unruly, uncivilized, and unrelenting in front of the young ones we influence most.
Parents are supposed to be role models, leaders, and teachers of our kids–not expose them to this insanity.
It’s not okay.
How Can We Raise Kind Kids In This Type of Environment?
When I see this outrageous behavior from parents, it makes me question humanity’s ability to raise up generations of kind, compassionate, mature human beings.
I often wonder if they behave with such impulsivity and inappropriate uproars in their workplace, homes, or in any other area of their lives? I can’t imagine they do; but alas, high school sporting events seem to be the place to let it all out, and where they assume they are immune to any consequences or adhering to basic community guidelines.
The behavior is disturbing and impacts the players in debilitating ways.
These poor kids just want to compete without the offensive angry outbursts that disrupt their attention to the game. They train hard and love their sport. They’ve worked tirelessly to develop their skills, cultivate a unified team, respect their coach, and honor the rules of the game. They are full of excitement and nerves, putting themselves under immense pressure to perform well for their coach and the team. The last thing they need is heckling and raging rants from the crowd. They have enough going on in their hormonal heads, it’s a crying shame they have to withstand the pungent offenses coming from the fans (parents!)
What are we teaching our kids with this behavior? We need to stop the madness now, and it’s my hope that if these particular parents take time to actually read and AGREE with these rules, then our sporting events might possibly be the positive experience our kids deserve.
Of course, we know that not all parents act this way. Most parents are supportive and compassionate and kind, but this is definitely a case that a few bad apples are ruining the barrel.
These guiding principles should be put in every baseball and soccer field, football stadium, basketball court, and every other venue where parents are supposed to be cheering our kids on in their activity. Then, we might help teach people how to behave like civilized adults, and remind them that what they are witnessing is young people playing a sport they love.
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TEN SPORTS RULES EVERY FAN/PARENT NEEDS TO FOLLOW
PLEASE SIT IN YOUR DESIGNATED AREA
Since adults can’t seem to get along, we must see to it that the opposing team fans do not intermingle. If you purposefully sit on the wrong side in order to rouse conflict among the fans, you will be asked to go sit on your rightful side. In the event you resist, we will excuse you from the event. If you become agitated and aggressive, we will involve the authorities to control your full-grown tantrum and escort you from the premises.
DO NOT SCREAM AT PLAYERS, REFEREES, COACHES, OR OTHER PARENTS
As adults, you are expected to have self-control. We’d like to caution you against losing your temper and yelling offensive words at anyone participating in the event. The kids are learning that words matter and your rude and disrespectful outbursts are unacceptable and offensive to anyone who hears them.
ACT YOUR AGE
We all know being a grown-up is hard, but this is your chance to be good role models for our young people who are influenced by your behavior every day. We are teaching them important principles like INTEGRITY, RESPECT, and ACCOUNTABILITY as they develop their character and grow into adults. You are their example. Don’t blow it.
CHECK YOUR PERSONAL ISSUES AT THE DOOR
Oftentimes, when we are unhappy with things going on in our lives, we project that strain and stress in other areas of our lives, and sometimes that can be misdirected at people too. Please take a self-inventory before the event begins, and make sure you can keep your inner conflicts from spilling out in the stands. If you start to seep out that underlying negativity, please leave the event before it unravels. Then take good care and we’ll hope to see you next time!
OUR KIDS ARE NOT DEFINED BY THEIR PERFORMANCE.
We want our kids to understand that although their athletic abilities are important, there are many other factors that define who they are and who they will grow up to be. Let’s remember to not measure their worth by how well they perform. Their identity should not come from this sport alone, for they have talents and traits that go far beyond the sport they play. Reality check: 1 in 16,000 high school athletes go on to have a career in sports. And only 7% play their sport in college and less than 2% play in a D1 school.
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PLEASE DON’T YELL AT YOUR KID IF THEY MAKE A MISTAKE
Your kids are trying their best and when they mess up, the last thing they need is their parents yelling at them in front of all their peers and all the fans. This is humiliating and utterly shameful for them. We know you are passionate about your kid’s athletic potential and abilities, but your public display of disappointment is degrading and unacceptable. Now more than ever, they need your unconditional love and support.
ALL PLAYERS DESERVE RESPECT
Most athletic events are full of exciting plays and supportive cheers from the fans. There are injuries and difficult challenges our kids experience too. ALL PLAYERS deserve support and respect from EVERYONE, and cheering when a player is injured or taunting an opposing player for any reason, is bordering on abusive. Each player is someone’s child just doing their best to play their sport. They are not the enemy, so don’t treat them that way. They are simply kids on another team.
THIS IS A SPORTING EVENT NOT A WAR
Although we understand the immense amount of pressure that comes with any competition, and we are well aware of how hard your kids have trained for this event, we’d like to remind you that this is only a game. Please keep your perspective in check.
DON’T BE SORE LOSERS OR OBNOXIOUS WINNERS
As our kids mature, they are learning the valuable lessons in accepting defeat and celebrating victory with both class and maturity. They are also learning effective and appropriate ways to manage their strong emotions. Help us show our impressionable kids what that looks like, okay?
SUPPORT THE STAFF WHO MAKE THIS POSSIBLE!
All the coaches, teachers, and volunteers work tirelessly to organize and run these events. Please appreciate and respect the staff who spend their time and energy to create a meaningful and fulfilling experience for our athletes. Remember, we all wouldn’t be here without them, so how about thanking them too?
And one more important bonus rule
LET THE COACHES DO THEIR JOB
Although you might think you know best how to coach the team, someone was hired for the job. Please don’t confuse the athletes by yelling instructions so loud that the players can’t hear their own coach. There is a lot we don’t know about the team dynamics, opposition, or strategy. Be a supporting spectator, not an armchair quarterback!
This is a contributed post by Christine Carter. She writes at TheMomCafe.com, where she hopes to encourage mothers everywhere through her humor, inspiration, and faith. Her work is published on several various online publications and she is the author of “Help and Hope While You’re Healing: A woman’s guide toward wellness while recovering from injury, surgery, or illness.” and “Follow Jesus: A Christian Teen’s Guide to Navigating the Online World”. Both sold on Amazon.
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