In case you haven’t heard, Silent Saturday is the name given to the day when coaches of youth sports are asked not to coach and parents are asked not to cheer. There is no shouting, yelling, or threatening the officials. According to the instigators of Silent Saturday, the quiet sidelines means there is no pressure on kids and they are free to have fun. Leagues around the country have mandated Silent Saturdays as an experiment in parental self control.
Silent Saturday first gained national attention a few years ago when the administrators of a girls soccer league in suburban Cleveland got fed up with crazy parents and issued a one-day ban on all coaching and cheering, even from the sidelnes. For scheduling purposes, the day was labeled Silent Sunday.
Yet another Silent Saturday…
A few weeks ago, I saw yet another Silent Saturday advertised on Twitter by a sports reporter. I told him that in my opinion the silence might be eery, and I suggested that it might be more realistic to try a Positive Saturday instead where the parents are only allowed to shout positive things (which they should be doing anyway).
The reporter’s response was, “Nope. Because if you cheer positively for one kid for success, the kid who failed would feel bad for not being cheered too.”
So that’s what we’ve come to in youth sports? An athlete is not allowed to feel good about his game or about something good he does because it might make someone else feel bad?
Are we raising our kids to be so self centered and worried about their own self esteem that they can’t be happy for someone else’s success?
Sure, Silent Saturday may work for one day, but in my opinion, it is a feeble attempt to address the real heart of the problem, and that is this: as parents and coaches, we need to be very intentional about helping our kids become better human beings by nurturing their character growth-unselfishness, team player attitude, persistence, good work ethic–not by stuffing cotton in their ears.
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