How should you handle ejections in sports?
The first time I saw a coach get ejected from a game, I was disgusted at his behavior. I thought, Surely he should learn to control his emotions and reactions better than that! He is not setting a good example for the kids!
When my own husband got ejected from a softball game a few years ago, my thinking followed a different road.
You see, my husband is usually very calm when discussing his differences with the umps, but the third questionable call of the afternoon wore at his patience and after loudly challenging the call, he made the mistake of bringing it up again to the ump a few minutes later. No profanity. No slurs. Just frustration.
“You’re outta here!”
Those are words no coach wants to hear. Those are words no athlete wants to hear–and no parent wants to hear about his child. And those are words no sports parent wants to hear when he’s been an overly enthusiastic spectator.
Ejections are going to happen. Sometimes emotions get out of control and officials misunderstand or over-react to comments or behavior by players or coaches. Many times the ejection is deserved, and many times it is not.
Either way, the ejected person suffers the consequences.
What’s a parent to do?
If it’s you that was ejected, swallow your pride and apologize to your kid and to the coach.
If it’s your child’s coach that was ejected, don’t hold it against him. Many times–as in the case with my husband–coaches are merely fighting for their players. Hopefully he will apologize to his players and even the umpire. Encourage your child to forgive and move on. Your child’s coach was duly punished when he was forced out of the game; he does not need to be punished twice.
Of course, if he does it on a consistent basis, a confrontation might be in order!
If your child is the one ejected, should you punish him in addition to that?
Most teams have a rule with it comes to technical fouls and ejections. On the basketball team my son played on, a technical foul earned a player time extra time on the bench. Let the coach handle the ejection consequences.
Anyone who gets ejected suffers natural consequences and heaping another punishment on top of that is not necessary.
When my husband was ejected, he was forced to watch the rest of the game from a distance, and standard league procedure dictated that he not be allowed to coach the next day’s game as well. I sat with him in his truck during the 2nd game and we watched from beyond the outfield fence. He observed in frustration as his team made fielding errors and missed hitting opportunities, and went on to lose the game. And there was nothing, absolutely nothing, he could do about it. If you’ve ever coached a team, you know that is emotional torture.
Sometimes you just have to suffer the consequences of your choices. It’s a hard lesson we’ve tried to let our kids learn in life.
As parents, you can help your child keep from letting life’s ejections, rejections and disappointments weigh him down for too long. Remember, there’s plenty more games to be played.
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