Man, I have just about seen and heard it all. Parents yanking a younger, highly skilled athlete off the field in the middle of a game because their kid was played in a position the parent felt they should not play (and not only off the field in the middle of a game but completely off the team, walking their young athlete away in tears), a father marching across the field to confront a coach and almost ending up in fisticuffs over the playing position his daughter played during a tournament match, abusive jeering from parents on the sidelines directed at referees who may have missed a call or two, mothers and/or fathers trying to remove a coach from a program because their kid did not play enough or was cut from a team, and even bringing a case to court against an athletic program after their son or daughter was legitimately found to have been in violation of their athletic code. You name it, it has probably happened.
Many of these above statements are the main focus of Suzette Rhee’s report Adult Anger In Youth Sports, at FOXCHARLOTTE NEWS @ 10.
There are a lot of good points throughout this video, however, a key theme presented, one that really stands out for me, is the concept that youth sports is a financial investment which should bring back some sort of financial “payoff” to the payee in return. It is an attitude I find too many parents seem to have adopted these days.
Now before I continue, I have to fully disclose that both of my kids played sports through their younger years, through high school and through college. They both were fortunate enough to have received athletic scholarships for the efforts they put in. And yes, their sports experiences did come at a considerable financial cost to our family.
However, and this is HUGE, never, ever, did my wife or I view those sports expenses as an investment toward some type of expected financial return, for them or for us.
Oh sure it was an investment, but a completely different kind than the one portrayed in Ms. Rhee’s piece, the one that seems to dominate many parents’ thinking.
For us, it was the type of investment that would give our kids the opportunity to develop some level of discipline, learn how to set proper priorities, gain time management skills, and cultivate leadership skills.
We wanted them to learn what it really means to be committed to something, even if things don’t work out the way you planned, to stare adversity right in the face and say “YOU WILL NOT BEAT ME,” thus, become educated regarding what it takes to persevere through difficulties.
It is these intrinsic components and traits, in addition to others, that we wanted our investment to bring back to our kids. The kind of things that have great value and meaning far beyond the athletic arena. Was it nice to see them accomplish what they wanted? Yes, of course. Was it great to see them earn themselves a way to pay for furthering their education? Absolutely!!! But they would have had to do that anyway since I never planned on, or believed in, fitting the total bill for college. They had to have some “skin in the game” as my father might have said.
In short, I agree wholeheartedly with Charles Brown in the video, problems usually result when parents expect an “extrinsic payback,” some sort of financial gain, on their time and financial investment. Better to take pride in the fact that they, your kids, are willing to give their best efforts and let them be the judge of whether the payback was worth it.