Kids Sports Were Better Before Parents Were Involved

Kids Sports Were Better Before Parents Were Involved

The big story of the day is Jackie Robinson West forfeiting their Little League baseball championship. Pretty shocking. Hey, there’s sports and parents who are wannabe athletes involved. What could go wrong?

I coached both my daughter’s softball and basketball teams. Nothing too serious, just park district recreational leagues.

I had three rules for players….no going on the swings during the games, support your teammates and we’re here to have fun.

I had rules for parents, too. No yelling at your kids during the games and no yelling at umpires or referees.

The kids did fine, the parents not as much.

Year one of softball…one of my players, a six year old girl, hit a little dribbler right in front of home plate. She was confused and stood in the batter’s box instead of running to first base.

A parent…a FATHER…tried to help her out by yelling, “Hey you little c**t, run.”

I tried to help him out by grabbing him by his shirt and telling him I better not hear another word from him the rest of the season. I never did.

As the years went on the incidents continued.

A coach berating a 15 year old umpire for 20 minutes. Coaches running up the score on ten year old girls and laughing about it. Having to tell a parent to leave the gym or we’ll be forced to forfeit a game.

And this was just a house league where it’s done for fun. You can imagine what goes on in more serious travel leagues.

I once saw two coaches ejected from a softball game. Same team. Why would you do that in front of your children? I never got that.

Winning a kid’s game wasn’t that important. Making friends, teamwork and having fun, now that was important.

When I was a child, back in the olden days, all the kids used to gather in an empty field or go to a park. We’d make our own bases, choose our own teams and play ball for a couple of hours. Then we’d do it again the next day. It was a lot of fun. Great memories And oh yeah…no parents.

I miss those days. It was kinder and gentler. Different times. I think better times.

I feel sad for the Jackie Robinson West kids. I feel sadder about the adults.

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