Sports are suffering from numerous outside influences that includes: video games, computers, movies, etc., but the most problematic issue are the parents.
Yes I said it; the parents that brought these children into this world are trying to live their childhood through them. I have experienced this first hand and last night was the icing on the cake.
The back story is that I have umpired baseball and girls softball for over 13 years. I was a player that played through college and I enjoy when the spring and summer rolled around and getting suited up for a game. Of course there’s always a little bit of banter from coaches throughout the season but the problem really escalated last night.
Last night I ejected a coach, a player, and a parent from the game. I won’t name the park or names of the ejected, because that is not the issue. The issue is that the parents want to live through their kids because either their childhood wasn’t good enough in their eyes or they want their child to be the very best without repercussions.
The 13 and 14 year old league I was officiating was a house league which means some players are there because they enjoy the game and get some exercise. It’s nice to see those kids out enjoying the game and getting the exercise and learning the game. The issue however is that the head coach was far from teaching the fundamentals of the game but instead swearing like a sailor after his team gave up 10 runs in the first inning.
I asked the coach to keep it down as the swearing isn’t acceptable and doesn’t help anyone involved in the game. He continued to mumble things after I asked kindly to discontinue the language. When the game started to get closer the blood pressures began to rise naturally, but the same head coach continue to let his emotions speak.
After few plays that were rule interpretations and another that was an obvious out call (which his others coaches said it was) he had enough of my officiating. He said, “You are f*cking brutal, I can say whatever the f*ck I want and you f*cking suck.” Then proceeded to kick dirt on home plate and stomp on it like he was a 4 year old whining for a piece of candy. For someone who is supposed to be a role model and teach these kids the game of baseball he was definitely not doing his job as a coach or more importantly a parent.
Then the night got worse as parent was expressing their displeasure with me about a fair or foul call and used profanity that doesn’t belong near children or a Rated R movie. Then the children from the losing team started to mouth off as well in the last inning voicing their opinion on balls and strikes. It’s a sad state of affairs that these kids are supposed to be learning many things through baseball but instead learning how to become an ignorant human being.
The issue is that these parents think they are protecting their children by talking to umpires in an aggressive tone. However, when they start talking back to you after you were polite to them asking them to relax is something that is a disconcerting issue. Along with the protection issue many parents are wanting to relive their childhood through them and want to control that anyway possible. It’s something I’ve seen over the years but more and more prevalent the last few summers. Not sure if it’s the changing landscape on how children are raised but it’s definitely an issue when they think talking back to an umpire or swearing at one is acceptable.
Yes, umpires never get every call right but to start using harsh language to get your point across isn’t acceptable. I understand when a game is going on emotions get high, but these parents and coaches really need to control them to show the children what a correct way to conduct yourself in public or with others. It's critical skills that they will need later in life.
This can go for any sport but after last night it really irked me when I see parents trying to be something they weren’t in their younger years or showing the children swearing and insulting an umpire is passable. I’m sure other sports officials have seen the same incidents I have gone through many incidents and it’s not good for anyone involved.
I must say though after the game was over one of the parents from the ejected coach’s team was nice enough to come over and tell me I did a great job and he doesn’t appreciate what his son goes through. He isn’t happy with the profanity or “teaching” and said umpires aren’t perfect and that language is totally uncalled for. It was refreshing and very kind of him to do that after a very frustrating evening.
They really need to step back and let their kids enjoy their childhood without their own personal goals. Going after an official in any sport is embarrassing and intolerable. Kids need to learn the skills of the sport and not having their parents embarrass them when things don’t go their way. Because it’s natural for the child to think if their parent is doing it it’s totally fine for them to conduct themselves the same exact way.
Parents, you are grown up now and raising your children that hopefully every parent wants them to develop in a good person. After tonight’s showing I am scared for the future of the youth and organized sports because too many outside issues become the forefront of what the game is all about.
Be a good role model for your children and in the end it’s just a game. That’s the most important thing that it’s just a game and winning or losing, the abuse of officials shouldn’t be involved.
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