The thesis of the article submits that it is the parents who are the biggest culprit in destroying the institution of athletics for our youth, which is the absolute truth. In fact, the only time this isn't the case is when you get a coach who has none of his/her children on the team he/she coaches, yet still is an absolute nightmare.
Why are the parents the problem? It's three fold:
- The players (who are all kids in high school or younger) are now preferring that their parents do NOT attend their games. The parents put so much pressure on their kids that the kids no longer perform well, nor, and most importantly, do the kids have fun. Parents think their kids must receive an athletic scholarship (as if they are owed it by God and/or society), so any call or decision that goes against the kid/team is the act of the devil. Perhaps the parents are living vicariously through their children?
- The college coaches who are scouting and recruiting high school kids to their programs are now pulling scholarship offers once they see how the parents act. The article in question cites one Division I coach pulling a scholarship offer for a high school kid because the parents would be a cancer to the program. If that's not the complete antithesis of what the parents want, I don't know what is.
- The officials are retiring early or leaving the game in some form to escape the berating from parents that hold no merit. It seems simplistic to say the game cannot be played without officials, but it's the truth. Without officials, there is no game to play, and the kids lose. To a different extent, without experienced or qualified officials, the officials assigned to the games may not be ready for certain assignments, which is just as bad as not playing due to a lack of officials.
The principle of this argument is very similar to that of a post we featured many moons ago when we transferred our material from our old blog. Officials want to focus "between the lines," that is, on the playing action and not on the dugouts and stands. When players, coaches, and fans berate officials, they take the focus of the official off the game and onto the unnecessary words and actions of people who do nothing but distract officials from doing their best job. It seems the same principle applies to players who want to focus on the game, not their parents pressuring them.
All in all, it's real simple: shut up. Be nice. Treat others how you would want to be treated.