Do you think that youth sports has gotten more violent? My guest post today is written by V.J. Stanley, a man who thinks it has. And the reason, he claims, is that parents have invested a lot of time and money for their kids to hopefully make it to the big time. Here’s what he has to say:
Last night at a high school sports event I watched a parent pace the sideline. Even with strict rules in place about staying in your own team’s cheering section, this guy went up and down the sidelines, yelling instructions to his son and harassing the referees. After the game, as he was leaving, he told one of the other parents that “He did not know how much more of this he could take.” One of the parents responded with “I know exactly how you feel.”
Parents are paying thousands of dollars to have their children belong to a particular team or organization in youth sports. They want to get a return on their investment. The angst meter is already ramped up by the very fact that their child is playing in the “pay for play” sports arena.
Youth sports used to be the place where you could put your everyday worries and troubles behind you and just enjoy watching your children play and have fun. Sure, there was always one whackadoodle in the stands but everyone avoided him and he was really left out to be by himself.
What people don’t understand is that by watching the person yell and make a fool out of themselves–and I know the children certainly don’t want their parents behaving that way–they begin to subconsciously identify with the yelling parent, or by not saying anything to them, endorse that behavior.
I am not saying that you should go and confront that person. You do not want to get in to a fight over a youth sports game, but what I do want you to be aware of is the effect it has on you and those around you.
There is a thing called tacit community in which people will knowingly say or do the wrong thing when influenced by others with status. My generation called it mob mentality.
People have been sucked in by the belief that college scholarships are out there and are attainable by following this “pay for play” model.
I recently had a young man tell me about John Wall and how he was discovered at a Reebok summer camp that cost $1000 to attend. Two things from that statement. One, do you really think that John Wall would not have played DI basketball and be in the NBA if he not gone to that camp? Second, he proves the rule. Thousands of kids have gone to these camps and what became of them?
Kids, coaches, organizations, and parents, use the exception to try and disprove our paradigm. They say he did it, why not my kid?
Let’s be honest, parents. The facts say the odds are incredibly small that your child will play in the NBA. 1 out of 100,000 kids between the ages of 19-23 make it to the NBA.
VJ Stanley wrote Stop the Tsunami in Youth Sports, available on his website in e book and paperback form.
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