Malady in Youth Sports



Parents and Fans: Malady on the Sports Scene

            Sports and athletic competition is one of the principal providers for pleasure, excitement and entertainment for the American public.

This trait is true of sport involvement from youth sports all the way to professional play at the major league level in every sport.


Today, I am going to examine what seems to be a malady in our great land in attitudes and conduct manifested toward athletic endeavors on local middle and high school levels.


 Someone recently commented that it seems that over the years  I have taken exception to remarks and positions taken by parents of young athletes. The response to that accusation is it is absolutely true. And that exception is going to become more tenacious in the column today and even more so during the time I am allowed to live.


There was a time when our youngsters could play and compete against other schools without outward objections or comments toward coaches. Today objections and criticisms come in the area of personnel on a team, playing time, play calling or strategy in a game.


Let me go on record as saying parents and fans don't know nearly as much as they think they know. They are greatly subjective in their observations and conclusions. They lack the qualifications to judge most situations.


In the long, long ago, as youngsters and high school athletes we played games against other schools. Some games we won and some we lost. Let me again go on record as saying that just two generations ago, parents and fans did not huddle and talk about what the coach did to either win or lose a game. He or she was given a team to work with and allowed to do so.


 It has already been stated that I am the wrong person to talk to about any aspect of a game already played. That is, other than celebrating winning or showing disappointment in losing. The specifics are beyond most of our comprehension. Especially is this true of some of the people who spout off much more than they should.


But, if anyone wants to make a comment or so, let's make a deal. I will have a notepad with me and take down your statements and observations of wisdom. I will then ask permission to quote you in this column. Criticize the coach, lambast a player, tell what you would have done to win a game or anything else one desires to wax eloquent about. If it is as wise as you feel, then surely you want to share it with the "viewing" public."


There is the matter of former coaches counseling players and parents shortly after a disappointing loss. Usually such a coach did not put championship records on the board during his career. Such is wrong even if the coach is right in his or her evaluation of particulars. There is no place for the undermining of a coach by an outside observer employed to do a job.


Then, there is the matter of secret opposition to coaches and their performance. This opposition might be on the part of parents and parties interested in taking over a job. That is wrong, unethical and most of all, it is cowardly to the core.


For anyone who is even inclined to conduct a campaign against a coach in our locality (Calhoun, Sonoraville, Gordon Central or anywhere I know about) here is one word of advice –Don't.


This isn't a new story and it isn't a local story. The matter of sitting in judgment reaches into ever nook and cranny of our great land. To become enlightened, watch the movie "Hoosiers." Some might see themselves in one of those know-it- alls in the barber shop scenes or in the stands.


I had the opportunity to sit in front of interesting parents and fans (???) from another county during the Rome Christmas Basketball Tournament. It did not take me long to realize that every community had those who knew all the answers: Poor deluded and ignorant souls.


In closing, I have not seen a coach miss frequent free throws, numerous bad passes or fail to guard his man. Incidentally, have you ever heard someone tell what a coach did to win a game?


 I will be defending the coaches in this space. At least coaches put their product on display and it isn't cowardly theorized in whispered words or backroom meetings.