Youth Sports Culture Mimics MLB: Unsportsmanlike Conduct Rears Its Ugly Head In Gurnee, Illinois!!!

Mar 27, 2009 - La Verne, California, USA - High School Baseball 2009 - Bonita's JIOVANNI MIER #3 celebrates after a solo home run in the sixth inning during a baseball game between Charter Oak and Bonita at Bonita High School in La Verne Photo via Newscom

Last Monday’s Daily Herald article, Fixing the ugly side of youth sports, gives a picture of the loss of perspective in sports and youth sports I consistently emphasize in many of my pieces. Ne’er a week goes by where there isn’t something in the media (steroids, cheating, fighting, Illicit/Illegal behavior, etc.) that doesn’t support this.

The baseball situation highlighted below (and in the article referenced) certainly demonstrates what can happen when this loss of perspective takes a solid foothold.

A skirmish between players over a play at the plate emptied both benches and caused verbal abuse between parents in a recent Colt League baseball game in Gurnee. The fight was bad enough that police had to be called in.

According to the Herald article, there were no arrests or injuries (lucky them) and the teens seemed agreeable with each other, hugging “as the three officers left the field.” The piece goes on to state:

“But the damage was done. How sad that a couple of teenage boys would resort to tussling and throwing punches over a Colt League baseball game.

Sadder still is the reaction of parents in the stands, who lost their cool and helped escalate the situation.”

Houston Astros Lance Berkman (C) tries to calm teammate Carlos Lee as St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina blocks any advance toward pitcher Chris Carpenter in the third inning at Busch Stadium in St. Louis on May 13, 2010. Lee and Carpenter had words as both benches emptied. Calm was restored with no ejections. UPI/Bill Greenblatt Photo via Newscom

A statement I wholeheartedly agree with and, if you think about it, not really all that different from the scuffles you sometimes see in major league baseball, or other professional sports for that matter. How easy it is to mirror the imagery of poor sportsmanship seen at the higher levels.

And the parents, well, I think John Engh’s (National Alliance for Youth Sports chief operating officer) quote echoes my own feelings:

“These types of behaviors have a greater chance of surfacing in youth sports when coaches and parents fail to stress the importance of being a good sport and aren’t models of it at all times themselves.”

How true that is. And not only for parents but also elite and professional level athletes as well – they are the ones many look up to.

Let’s hope something much more serious doesn’t happen before a more appropriate and proper perspective is restored.


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  • I'm sorry this is a very wrong statement. Yes, we may have kids who do but what town doesn't? This is one of the first time's in a long time and it's unfair to only point a finger at us. One of my best friends plays on a colt team and frankly he's one of the nicest people I know.

  • In reply to chaosnight7:


    Thanks for your response, however, you are going to have to be more sepecific. What comment is a "very wrong statement?" And yes you are right, you can find poor sports behavior just about anywhere. Using the story about what happened in Gurnee does not mean that Gurnee is a bad town or that athletes from Gurnee are worse behaved than others. It is just one example of the many that occur anywhere and at all levels of sport.

    I apologize if you feel singled out, that was not my intent. Next week the same type of story might occur here in Naperville where I live. I would certainly write a piece on that if it did (or should I say when it does).

    Looking forward to your response.

  • have kids (who are bad*)

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