Parents Behaving Badly At Sporting Events
My girls all play netball. Each weekend they can be seen carving it up on the netball court, even Miss G who has just started her netball career this year at the ripe old age of 6.
I have been a netball Mum for the better half of 8 years, cheering my girls on from the sidelines, supporting their teams, scoring their games and managing their teams and this year I have even turned my attention to coaching.
You see all manner of people down at the courts each Saturday, from parents supporting their kids from the sideline and Grandparents from the comfiness of their fold out chair with coffee in hand.
We all like to see our kids perform well and yes, even I admit it, a win does feels pretty good too.
But where do you draw the line between encouraging your kids from the sidelines and perhaps getting a bit too carried away in all the action of a high intensity game?
Miss E plays division 1 netball and has for years. Lets just say it is extremely fast paced, serious and very competitive. So much so, that sometimes we forget that it is just a game that our girls love playing and yes we get a bit carried away.
However it sometimes takes the attitude of a real douche to bring it all back into perspective and bring you back to earth with a thud.
One game a few weeks ago was proving to be very challenging, not so much for the kids, but for the parents on the sideline, especially those of us that had to put up with the antics of one very over exuberant father from the opposition.
Let’s just say that our girls weren’t winning and the chance of this changing any time soon was next to nil. But they were having fun, pushing themselves to the limit and perhaps learning new skills playing against very skilled team, that in all honesty will probably go on to win the competition this year.
They were all still having fun, because playing together each week, win or lose is what they love doing the most.
Having said all that, they still tried their very best and that included putting their all their efforts into their defence. As a result of this, the action down our defence end was perhaps getting a bit rough…on both sides.
It took the words of one particular father of the opposition that totally took us by surprise.
All through the game, he was calling out every time our girls shot a goal. He yelled and cheered every time our girls made a mistake. But it wasn’t until he screamed at one of our girls to get off the court and reduced her to tears that we finally stepped in.
Sure enough the powers that be swooped and not another sound was uttered past his lips during that game, or the games that have been held since.
Miss E also umpires and to be the parent of a new umpire is also an exercise in restraint.
From the sideline you watch your daughter volunteer her time for the game she loves and as a result of that, listen to parents constantly badger her for making wrong decisions (or think they are wrong) and tell her she doesn’t know what she is doing, out loud for everyone to hear…. including her.
I think they sometimes forget that these kids….yes kids…. are themselves learning a new skill. You have to start somewhere and they should just keep their opinions to themselves. It’s so hard not to come to her defence, but she would kill me if I opened my mouth.
So what makes parents behave so badly at their kids sporting events?
Is it a desire to relive their achievements through their children?
Or perhaps they were left with an unfulfilled desire to achieve as a child and now see their own child as a means to rectify that.
The thing is, all this carry on from the sideline is in fact going to have a detrimental effect on the performance of their own child, who is probably cringing with every word yelled in their direction.
Interference from parents has turned into such a problem that some Netball Associations have even instigated a “silent” rule. There is to be no yelling out from anyone from the sideline, under any circumstances. Unfortunately that also includes positive cheering and encouragement. This makes for a very quiet game, cultivating absolutely no atmosphere.
Have some parents totally lost the ability to tell the difference between encouragement and verbal abuse in kids team sports?
Kids learn vital skills of teamwork, sportsmanship, get some valued exercise and above all else they have fun playing a game they love …. and the parents should be having fun watching their kids enjoy themselves, no matter the end result.
It’s not all about winning! I assure you your kids are playing for the love of the game and whether they win or lose doesn’t mean anything to them.
Sure it’s nice to win once in a while, but if that’s the only reason they are playing then they are playing for the wrong reasons.
Parents need to remember that they are only there to support and encourage their kids and their team, they are not there for their own self gratification.