Northampton Press

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Respectfully Yours: Good sports

Friday, March 9, 2018 by JACQUELYN YOUST Special to The Press in Focus

Dear Jacquelyn,

My daughter is a very good soccer player. Therefore she is a target for the other team to take her out. Recently, she was head-butted and hurt by a player on the opposing team. The other player was clearly in the wrong and taken out of the game. A parent behind us quipped, “Well if she doesn’t want to get hurt she shouldn’t make herself a target.” Not wanting to make a scene, I said nothing but felt this parent’s comment should have been addressed.

Dear Reader, I’m sorry this happened to your daughter. It’s a shame that “talking trash” is part of today’s game. People sometimes will resort to using twisted psychology as a way to get inside the head of an opponent. My biggest issue with it is that it is mean-spirited in nature.

The goal of parents should ultimately be in supporting their children who play sports, and most do a great job of this. However, you can almost always find one bad egg that puts unnecessary stress on a player and themselves. We need to be mindful as to why we encourage our children to play sports. Most young athletes will not get that coveted college scholarship but play because of the lessons about teamwork, healthy activity, and sportsmanship.

When confronted with an unruly parent, wait until you have calmed down and address your issues and concerns with coaches privately. It’s a bad idea to approach the field and officials in front of parents and the players. If you don’t already have a “Parent Code of Conduct,” drafting one should help. Adopting a “Parent Code of Conduct” with guidelines to specific behavior principles will help lessen and hopefully stop these incidences.

Parents sometimes get too absorbed in the child’s sporting event and take the event personally. They become consumed and forget that they are not the coach or referee. This creates the ugly scene of telling anyone (coaches, parents, or youths) what to do.

Parents need to remember that we are role models for our children. Therefore, we need to watch what we say and how we say it. Parents behaving badly on the sidelines or in the bleachers at their children’s sporting events need to remember, children learn from example. Keep comments about other players positive.

Parents should, sit back, relax, be positive, and cheer on the team.

Respectfully Yours, Jacquelyn

Have a question? Email: Jacquelyn Youst is owner of the Pennsylvania Academy of Protocol, specializing in etiquette training. She is on the board of directors of the National Civility Foundation. All Rights Reserved © 2018 Jacquelyn Youst