My son plays baseball in Buffalo Grove. I walked up to his field on Sunday and loved that the park district made a move to try and help people stop screaming at their kids, other players, coaches and the umps.
A few days ago, Buffalo Grove placed signs at a number of the fields to give parents a little reminder that they need to check themselves before they explode. "Of the hundreds of thousands of children who have ever played youth sports in Buffalo Grove, very few have gone on to play professionally. It is highly unlikely that any college recruiters or professional scouts are watching these games; so let's keep it all about having fun and being pressure-free." The signs also attempts to support the officials, "No one shouts at you in front of other people when you make a mistake, so please don't yell at them. We do not have video replay; so, we will go with their calls."
It's a great concept and I LOVE that the town my son plays ball in is making an effort. As much as I think this is incredible, I hate to also say that it won't work for two reasons.
1) The offender never thinks they're the one the sign is talking about. I sat next to someone an entire soccer season that bitched about everything. The other players are too rough, the ref is blind, the kids on the other team are mean, the other parents are shitty... One time I heard her yell out, "HOW CAN YOU MISS THAT OFFSIDES - YOU ARE AN IDIOT AND JUST PLAIN STUPID! GO GET A REAL JOB!" She's a lunatic.
Just yesterday she was sitting with another parent at the game and they were talking about the signs placed at all the parks. She said it was a great idea and how she never says anything derogatory at games and can't stand those other parents. They have no business being at the games.
Are you f'ing kidding me? She's delusional, and I'm pretty sure she really believes she has never done anything wrong.
Those that scream throughout the games never think the behavior signs and talks by coaches are aimed at them. They never think they're that bad. They think they're helping their son and encouraging them. They think it's the best way to take their kid to the next level. They think the sign is for the jackass on the other team.
2) The novelty and talk of the signs will fade and they'll soon be another rusted out obstacle that nobody really sees as they walk by.
I don't know what the answers are - however I do know that the soccer club my kids play for brought in a speaker for Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA) and it changed the way I look at everything. I took a lot of notes, and my next post will highlight some of the more powerful points that I wil take with me to every game and practice.
I applaud Buffalo Grove for trying to make a difference, but I see it like Michael Bloomberg banning sodas larger than 16 ounces in New York City. It's a great step in the right direction, but it's also a raindrop in the ocean.
If you agree or disagree, I'd love to hear from you and please follow Cheaper Than Therapy on Facebook or subscribe by e-mail: