I contribute a weekly column to the Platte County Landmark under the “Rambling Moron” name. It’s a great Northland Newspaper and well worth a subscription. The following is an copy of my article which appeared in the 4/18/12 edition – printed with permission.
IDIOT PARENTS A GROWING TREND IN YOUTH SPORTS
It didn’t take long for a growing trend in youth sports to rear its ugly head here in Platte County. Parents are ruining youth baseball. A couple of weekends ago, at a tournament at Platte County’s Tiffany Hills Complex, two teams of 13-year old baseball players were involved in a bench-clearing brawl. This wasn’t a standard baseball fight between the competitors, this was a fight, primarily, amongst the fans and the coaches.
Before it was over, 10 cop cars were called, arrests were made, suspensions of both the fighters and the teams were made and multiple lawsuits have started making their way through the legal system. From folks I’ve talked with, the fight was extremely violent and lasted quite a while. Doesn’t sound much like baseball to me.
I’ve been to many tournaments up at Tiffany Hills and they run a good operation up there. However, the feature of many of these tournaments is the over-aggressive team of superstar kids and their win at all costs parents.
Where do you draw the line? Ten cop cars would be a good place to start. Even though those tournaments are about winning, youth sports is ultimately about teaching our kids skills to deal with life. Punching Bill from accounting when he didn’t get his quarterly estimates in on time isn’t generally allowed once you grow up. Don’t like your boss? Just F-Bomb him during the morning meeting. Or maybe that guy who took your parking spot, just take a bat to the windshield.
I’m the father of a 9-year old baseball player, and after every game, I deal with a kid who is frustrated at his own performance, the umpires, the other team and the coach. Each one of these are learning chances for me and my kid. They’re chances to explain to him that sometimes life doesn’t go your way. Sometimes you get lucky. Sometimes you can bear down and make good things happen. And sometimes, umpires are just awful. But ultimately, it’s a chance to explain that baseball isn’t important in the grand scheme of things. But in many ways, it’s extremely important to make these kids into folks who solve their differences and problems not with arguments and fights.
Unfortunately, idiot parents are the growing trend in youth sports. Every week, it seems, there are stories of parents fighting in the stands and coaches getting into confrontations. It seems that trend has found Platte County.
The really sad part is that both teams likely face suspension from future tournaments so the kids are really the ones who are most penalized for their knucklehead parents. Take a few extra minutes to assess your own behavior when attending your kid’s sporting events. The kids you help today might be the ones in traffic, or the accounting department tomorrow.
(Chris Kamler is active on Twitter, where is known as @TheFakeNed. Reach him through his web site, ramblingmorons.com)