For years your kids have played organized sports. The focus has probably been on having fun, on feeling good and maybe learning something about the game. On building confidence. And, of course, on self-esteem.
But are these leagues being used to teach attitudes, skill and lessons that will serve them later in life?
I remember watching a friend fill in for an absent youth league baseball coach. I don’t think it was the ’substitute teacher phenomenon’ that rendered one of our young team members absolutely incapable of controlling himself. Especially his language. It became completely inappropriate. Rude, crude and downright abusive – and it didn’t seem to matter whether it was directed at his peers or the adults involved.
The substitute coach asked him to stop. Then he told him to stop. Then Coach explained very clearly. “This is the last time I am going to tell you to stop swearing. If you do it again – even one more time – you won’t get to play today.”
Of course, our young friend, fully schooled in his own ’star power’ couldn’t imagine such a scenario. As a result, he was very surprised when the next curse word resulted his being removed from the bench.
How would you react?
You could join in with the kids’ complaints about the coach’s unfairness. You could complain to the league or to the other parents. Or, you remind the kids who you are close to you that, with his behavior, the young ’star’ chose to be in the stands rather than to help them win the game.
Maybe you could even thank the coach and ask if he’d consider becoming more involved. After all, don’t your kids deserve someone who will model doing the right thing instead of the easy, popular thing?