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The Vicious World of Youth Sport

Listen, we've all been there. You're either at your little league baseball game or in the stands of a little league baseball game, and some big, gray haired flat-top, barrel-chested guy with way too small of a shirt on is screaming at little Timmy to hit it harder and for "Blue" to call a better game. Like, REALLY screaming, like he was at the K and Angel Hernandez was head umpire. You'd think to yourself "Man something's really wrong with him." but don't do anything in fear of backlash and causing a scene. Your gut feeling is right though, it is wrong and something should be said to people like that. It's what is killing youth sports, and why there is such a referee shortage even at the high school level.

Why are people like this, you might also ask? What drives them to be so incensed at a game that in the end, will not even come close to mattering in the grand scheme of that child's life? This isn't the World Series, it isn't even the LITTLE LEAGUE World Series, it's 3rd grade baseball where pitchers are only just now starting to be the kids themselves, and they can barely get that ball to the plate, lemme tell ya. The big thing that drives people insane in youth sports, isn't their love for their child, the yearning to see them succeed and have fun, it's flat out narcissism and trying to live vicariously through your child. Brad over here probably didn't get the scholarship he wanted, so now he's going full drill sergeant on his kid to make sure HE does. That's just it though, what if the kid doesn't even want to be a ball player? What if I told Brad that he took this thing that this kid loves, and militarized it to where it's no longer about fun, but rather winning, humiliating the opponent, and getting a scholarship? What also, does that say about sportsmanship and humility when this kid sees his dad cussing out the referee who probably gets paid no more than 10 an hour? Are you seeing my point here, folks?

Youth sports is not about athlete development, it's about learning the game and having fun. Nick Saban is not coming to watch your 5th grader play, shoot unless your kid was Derrick Henry he's probably not even going to pay attention to him (and this is if he's even good enough) till his sophomore or junior year of high school. Even then though however, what does that say about you as a person and as a parent, when your child sees you acting like a complete buffoon and sometimes even going so far as threatening or assaulting somebody because they're human and they may have missed something? We as a society HAVE to do better for our kids in providing a safe, fun, and sportsmanlike environment that nurtures development and grows passion. High school is when the true competitive aspects can come into play, though that should not take away from the sportsmanship. This starts with parents being good role models, and not trying to live through their children. Push them to chase their dreams, not yours. The rules and tenants of sport apply to fans as well, ESPECIALLY in youth sport. Be the person you want your kids to be, not vice versa.

Burn Notice: 10/10 You think it's gonna cool down soon?

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