Parents, fans need to set positive example

Published 3:54 pm Wednesday, November 1, 2017

The issue of behavior at local sporting events has again become a problem.

This issue has been covered from many different angles. A case was made for respecting officials while also arguing certain officials need to be held accountable for decision making during crucial points in games. Previous Daily News editorials have highlighted the hard work put in by not only local athletes, but also the dedicated coaches who lead them.

Poor fan behavior was brought to the forefront again in the last week. One instance saw a fan from another team antagonize a Washington soccer player who got injured during a game.

This particular fan ended up admitting his mistake and apologizing for it, but the incident still raises the question: “Why?” Why do fans go over the top in their reactions to events that happen in a high school game?

Not to say these games aren’t important in the moment. That specific game last week determined whether Washington would earn the top playoff seed from its conference. No game warrants screaming insults at a teenage athlete, however.

Another incident saw a fan ejected from a youth football game over the weekend. The fan accosted the referees for their officiating during a game played by 10-year-olds. This fan was warned for his behavior multiple times before being thrown out.

There are many lessons to take away. Above all, fans should think of the example they’re setting with their reactions during athletic events. For high school athletics, the competitors are teenagers. So, too, are many of the spectators. Some are even younger.

In the case of youth sports, many of those who cheer on these teams are parents of players. Consider the message it sends to the children on the field when they see a teammate’s parent acting up.

Sports at these ages are often focused on teaching life lessons. Fans need to make sure they’re communicating the right lessons, too.