4 Tips for Keeping It Cool in the Bleachers at Youth Sporting Events

We’re well into the baseball and softball season, but the year is filled with seasonal youth sports: soccer, basketball, volleyball, roller hockey, ice hockey, football, Lacrosse, tennis, golf…and so many more!

We’ve all heard the horror stories about parents being verbally and sometimes physically abusive at youth football or baseball games.

What is it about sporting events, more than other organized youth performances or competitions that brings out the worst from the adults sitting in the bleachers? You won’t hear someone shout sarcastically, “What do you call that?” during a musical or dance recital.

I don’t have any answers for “why,” only four heartfelt requests for parents and friends in the bleachers:

1.  Please, please remember these are kids…they are not a professional team!  Keep your comments positive, even comments about the opposing team players!

2.  Think before you make comments about the umpire. Respect the decision made by the umpire. Most often they are volunteers, doing the best job they can. Be a good example for your child.

3.  Let the coach be the coach. Don’t instruct your child from the stands or point out his/her mistakes. 

4.  Praise a good effort, despite the score.

Learning to play fair, developing new skills, perfecting talents, and doing their best are only a few advantages for youngsters participating in team sports.  One of the most important lessons is practicing facing “big feelings” and overcoming fears.

As Eleanor Roosevelt said, “We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face…we must do that which we think we cannot.”

Here’s to strength and courage and confidence for all our children!

Kathryn Barker has never met a child, a tea, or a baby animal she didn’t love. With her sweet husband of 43 years, she has raised three extraordinary children, doctored all manner of farm animal, driven a team of horses, made soap, spun wool and opened a tea room. An avid photographer, Kathryn has had tea in a ger in Mongolia, viewed the Three Gorges Dam in China and waved to the Queen of England. She maintains a tea booth at the Oregon St. Antique Mall. Visit her at tea4kate.com or on Facebook and Twitter at tea4kate.

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Kathryn Barker has never met a child, a tea, or a baby animal she didn’t love. With her Sweet Husband of 43 years, she has: raised three extraordinary children, doctored all manner of farm animal, driven a team of horses, made soap, spun wool and opened a tea room. An avid photographer, Kathryn has had tea in a ger in Mongolia, viewed the Three Gorges Dam in China and waved to the Queen of England. She maintains a tea booth at the Oregon St. Antique Mall. Visit her at www.tea4kate.com or on Facebook and Twitter at tea4kate.
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4 Responses

  1. Tom O'Mara Tom O'Mara says:

    My mother once brought a small gym to a hushed silence with a piercing, "Whaddya call that, REF?" The mothers who helped drive us subtly moved away from her in the stands. In her defense, I can only say that her boy was being badly mauled, and she made a good call.

    Tom O'Mara

  2. Avatar Scott says:

    Thank you very much for this. As the father of three children who have been involved in sports for more than a decade—at times coached or refereed by me or my wife, while at others just observed and cheered on by us—we've seen far too many examples to count of absolutely abhorrent behavior in the stands and along the sidelines. It's as if people forget they're in public. And far too often, they forget it's about the kids, not them, and that they should be acting as role models. Hopefully this will serve as a gentle reminder, even though I doubt those who exhibit such behaviors would understand, or realize they're who it's directed at…

    • Thank you Scott….I, too, hope spectators will think before engaging in hurtful behavior. I am sure your children are grateful for the time and effort you and your wife put into their sporting events! What a joyous remembrance for them!