Buffalo News Tackles HS Sports

Here’s a link to a story in the Buffalo News today by News sport columnist Bucky Gleason. Mr. Gleason takes a strong stance against the “boorish behavior of parents that’s infected youth sports”. Go check out the link and let me know if this kind of behavior affects us here in Randolph.

I’ve been an administrator who’s worked with parents and coaches to problem solve sports issues and I’m also the parent of a high school athlete. I’ve never been a coach so I’ve no idea what it’s like to walk in those sneakers. But in my experience, nothing makes parents hotter than what happens with their kids on our athletic fields and in our gyms.

I wonder if former football coach Dan Elvin has it right when he’s quoted in this article saying,

“What I think is happening is that parents spend so much time outside the home that this is their way of showing love for the kid,” Elvin said. “We want to boost their self-esteem. Instead of them earning self-esteem, we give it to them. We say, “Honey, you’re a good player. You should be playing. It’s unfair. Go talk to the coach.”

I’ve been lucky enough to have great coaches for my kids in several different sports. Have I always been happy with every decision that they’ve made? Of course not. The coach is looking at all 10-40 kids on the team and I’m just watching mine. The only time I complained to the coaches (AFTER the game, in private) was over a problem with an official when I felt the coaches should have advocated for my kid. We talked about it, I felt listened to and understood AND I better understood their point of view.

That’s the thing too, there are always two sides to every story. I remember a mother who was upset that her senior son didn’t get to play. When I talked to the coach, he told me all the ways he’d tried to use the kid and said “you know, if I keep putting him in despite his shortcomings, it’s not fair to the other kids who actually want to win.” I’d never thought about it like that before.

And what about the fact that it’s actually good for kids to try lots of different things in school, learning the hard fact that they’re going to be good at some things but not so good at other things? Thank goodness I learned very early on that I couldn’t carry a tune so that I could give up my hopes of joining a rock band–and not making the basketball team as a 5’11” girl? That was tough to swallow in seventh grade, but it also let me join other organizations and clubs where I honed leadership skills that I still use today.

I keep thinking of what my momĀ  said if I complained that I didn’t get my fair share of something, “Life’s not fair, get used to it.”

One Comment
  1. Being a parent of an athlete and also parent of now a coach I see and hear this all the time. So many times like the article said, why is so and so sitting out, why aren’t they suited up? The child knows why and probably more times than not didn’t tell the parents. People don’t know the athletic code of ethics that each child and parent signs at the beginning of each season. I remember the days of sitting in the stands while my child who went to every practice on time and followed the rules sat the bench, while other kids were late to practice or doing behaviors that should have been unacceptable. It is a hard thing to swallow as a parent, but I think that it made
    them stronger.When parents complain I always say, you can be the coach next year!!!!It is one of life’s “thankless” jobs!!! Janet

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