Rink rage ruining sports for kids

Whatever happened to good ol’ fashioned sports? You know—go out there and be competitive, but most importantly have fun. I just don’t see it happening very much anymore.
And I’ll tell you who’s to blame? The parents are to blame.
With events I personally have witnessed in my short time here, on top of the “rumoured” short-fused hockey parents crossing the line with certain coaches and refs, I have to say I am disgusted.
Not with all parents—just the ones who pull these ridiculous stunts, such as yelling over the boards, screaming at the coaches, yelling at other parents in the stands, losing it on their kids after a game, and voicing any sort of opinion to the refs before, during, or after the game.
Without coaches and refs, there would be no game. Heckling and abuse from parents poisons the atmosphere and often causes these volunteer coaches and low-paid referees to quit all together (about 30 percent quit every season, according to the Canadian Hockey Association).
The coaches and refs aren’t out there to make a million—they’re out there for their love of the game and the fact they know how much playing a sport can have a positive impact on kids.
If only the parents of the kids could realize that.
Coaches are supposed to have a profound impact on their players’ athletic development, but more importantly impact their character. So, the coach (in most cases) is trying to have a positive affect on the child.
My question is: What kind of example do the parents think they’re setting for their own kids when they’re standing up and screaming in the stands or giving the coach a piece of their mind after a game?
I can’t help but wonder how angry, discontent, and disturbed these parents are to actually allow themselves to get to the point of losing their temper over a high school, Midget, or PeeWee hockey game.
Parents’ expectations are greater than ever before—not only of their kids, but of the coaches and referees, too. Well, I say who exactly do these parents think they are?
If they’re so educated on coaching and reffing, would never make a mistake, know everything there is to know about the sport, then they should get out there and do it—or else keep their inexperienced comments to themselves.
Now I have to say, as unfortunate as it is for the coaches and refs to be in such a position, the real people suffering are the kids. How embarrassing to have mom or dad make a fool of themselves in front of all the player’s friends, losing their temper and potentially making the situation worse for the child.
I thank God my parents were not like some of the parents I have come across. What it came down to was they knew their place, had respect for me, respect for themselves, and knowledge that coaching and reffing were not easy tasks.
Although my parents may not have agreed with every call that was made, or were disappointed over the fact I was benched during a high school basketball game, what difference would it have made had they lost it on the coach or ref?
It wasn’t going to change the call that already was made—and it’s certainly wasn’t going to make a difference in how much time I spent on the bench (the coach probably wouldn’t exactly want to pull any strings for me).
Someone once told me that if it came down to two players and only one of them could make the team, the coach would look at who their parents were—and you can guess which player would end up making it.
The way I see it is, there is absolutely no excuse for any parent to lose their temper for any reason because of a game. If they feel so inclined to voice a concern, do it respectfully.
It’s understandable that every parent wants to see their child succeed and do well in life, but really, it’s time to figure out the right way to positively influence them when it comes to sports.
The kids are out there to play a game, make some friends, and have fun. Most of the time, they’re not out there to make it to the NHL (for the record, the Canadian Hockey Association estimates less than one percent of hockey players actually make it to the NHL—if that means anything).
So quit living your own fallen dream through your children. Support them for wanting to be part of a team.
Be their parent, not their opponent.

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