Parents with Kids in Sports, GET OVER YOURSELVES!

It is a ranty kind of week and I seem to have a lot bugging me this week.

Last week while I was not feeling too hot, I ran into a teacher from my teen sons school. He talked about the weather, my kid and sports. My son plays basketball and at 6 ‘4 he is quite good. He plays it because he loves it and he loves his team. This year since he was in an older age bracket, the coach changed. He really liked his coach, just like he did the coach previously when he was on the younger team. It is a busy season when he is involved with Basketball but it is fun.

Practice is 3 x a week and there are usually 1 home game and 1 away game. Over the season the team often goes for a weekend to another city to compete as well. This usually happens 3 or 4 times. Parents cover the cost of the kids as well fundraising is done as needed. Coaches are not paid.

All of this time and commitment and coaches are not paid. They volunteer and pay their own way.

The coach last year was a former student of the high school. He is not a parent and he works full time elsewhere. He wanted to give back to the school and community he loved so he volunteered.

When speaking with the teacher he mentioned to me the coach would not be returning next year. I was disappointed as my son really enjoyed him as a coach. He gave everyone play time and had no ego. He was fair and committed and the kids all seemed to love him. I expressed my feelings to the teacher, who is part of the athletic committee at the school.

He said parents had complained.

Complained about what? This is high school sports. Your kids are not in the NBA. Sorry parents, if you think your kids are in sports because they are going to be professional athletes, they are doing it for the wrong reasons. But that is another rant for another day. We have been involved with competitive sports at the national level for many years. We never ever put pressure on the kids to win. We never forced any of them to continue when they wanted to stop no matter how much money and time was put into it over the years. If their heart or body is no longer into it, why continue?

The teacher said a few parents were upset the team did not finish the season in first place. He said parents felt the coach was too young and the kids did not take him seriously. He said the coach was not an authority and not in a position to be respected by parents or the students.

I sat there listening in shock. I expressed how this angered me and how my son would be sad to hear about this. The teacher told me he felt some parents live vicariously through their kids. I have seen this, you have seen this. we hear about it on the news, see it at games and shake our heads almost every time.

So this man who loved the game, gave his time, juggled his FT job and mentored the kids was not strict enough to coach the team. Since some parents felt their kids were not succeeding enough in the games and tournaments, they are now looking for a stricter coach.

In high school a coach that wins is not always what kids need. Learning to be a team, learning to lose and learning to play fair are also important. I came home and told my son about this conversation. He was shocked and not happy. However he is pretty sure he knows who complained. I guess a few parents who went to every game often gave feedback or yelled at the team and coach.

I guess they never were handed the parents code of conduct when their kids were younger. During soccer, track and field and even basketball, we were handed something similar to this below.

  • I will encourage good sportsmanship by being a positive role model.
  • I will try my best to make athletics a positive experience for everyone involved, i.e., participants, coaches, officials, and spectators.
  • I will insist my player treat other players, coaches, officials, and fans with respect.
  • I will reinforce the school’s drug and alcohol free policies and refrain from use alcohol and other drugs before or during games.
  • I will do my best to understand and appreciate the rules of the game.
  • I will show appreciation for an outstanding play by either team.
  • I will be a “team” fan, not a “my child” fan.
  •  I will help my child learn that success is measured by the development of skills, not winning or losing.
  • If I have a concern, I will talk to the coach at the appropriate time and place, i.e., never before, during, or immediately after a game.
  • I do my best to remember my ticket to a school athletic event provides me with the privilege of observing the game, not berating officials, coaches, or players.

I just do not understand why some people seem to be so crazy about high school sports. We are in Canada and there are many organizations outside of school for those who love a certain sport. Paid sports with paid coaches where I can see different expectations and standards. But in high school where teachers are over worked and limited with time, volunteers are needed. Why push away the few who are trying and doing the best they can?

What do you think? Should volunteers be fired? Should parents just get over themselves?  I wonder if the parents who complained will step up and volunteer?


  1. It’s a shame. I’ve also been involved in competitive sports with my kids, and over the years I’ve seen all kinds of things! The kids are usually great, but sometimes the behaviour of the parents is a little shocking. Personally, I try to stay away from that and keep positive. But sometimes I really have to shake my head!

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