Be the adult

Published 8:52 pm Friday, July 13, 2018

It’s about that time of the year again. Softball and baseball regular seasons have wrapped up, and All-Star teams are selected to take part in tournaments against other teams from around the state, and depending on how successful they are, against squads from across the country.

These tournaments provide great opportunities for kids to continue playing the sport they love and also see how they stack up against other top talent they wouldn’t usually compete against. But, sadly, the seemingly higher stakes of these tournaments, compared to playing in the regular season, can cause the scourge of youth sports to rear its ugly head: the out-of-control sports parent.

Please, don’t be that parent who’s yelling and cursing at the umpire because he’s “cheating” your child’s team out of a victory or, in your eyes, too chummy with the opposing team. Or even worse, don’t be like the parents of the players on two North Carolina 12U travel softball teams that started a brawl with each other at a tournament in Tennessee last month.

Video footage of the melee made national news and it was an ugly sight, with one of the 12-year-old players acting like the mature adult and trying to separate some of the brawlers. What made the matter worse was the fact that the children were the ones who ended up suffering, as the tournament’s director barred both teams from competing in the tournament, thanks to the disgusting behavior of their parents.

Even though your child is playing for an All-Star team or on a travel squad, and it feels like he or she is playing in the World Series, it’s still just a game. It is supposed to be fun and a way to teach children good values, like good sportsmanship and how to take both victory and defeat graciously.

Acting out-of-control because you feel there was an incorrect call made sets a bad example to the kids playing. You embarrass the children, as well as yourself, when behaving so immaturely. Those actions can also prevent your child from being able to participate in the future. So, please don’t be that parent and just enjoy watching your child compete and have fun.