Unruly behavior ruins another youth sporting event

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For years I have been saying that there are parents and coaches who are ruining youth sport with their bad behavior on the sidelines and in the stands. This behavior seems to have progressed further now that we are out of the pandemic and I don’t think we’ve seen the worst.

Over the weekend I saw a post from a Facebook friend of mine who is a youth sports coach who said that the tournament his team was taking part in had to be closed due to bad behavior from parents and coaches and it’s really a shame.

The football tournament was Summer Shine, which featured top-level youth football in a tournament style. Unfortunately for the kids, the parents and coaches were so out of control that the organizers were forced to close the tournament. Due to the horrible conduct of the parents, this message was sent by the organizers:

“Due to multiple altercations during the event between coaches and parents from multiple teams, we were directed by North Carolina State Police, Cabarrus County, Charlotte PD and Superintendent of Schools to close the remaining games of the tournament. Unfortunately, they fear some parents and coaches will retaliate after witnessing today’s altercations and say player safety is paramount in the decision. We protested against this situation to all the entities concerned; therefore, the requests were refused at all levels. Again, he reiterated for the SAFETY OF ALL, Summer Shine 2022 is being dismissed at close of business today.

“For those who had no issues this weekend, we thank you for your professionalism, courtesy and dedication to our young athletes and our event. We are REALLY saddened that the actions of a few have penalized the kids who have worked so hard to play in championship games tomorrow. All championship teams will have free entries to Winter Shine in November 2022 and Summer Shine in June 2023.”

After reading this, all I could do was literally shake my head in disgust. It is hard to imagine that there were so many problems that the authorities had to force the organizers to close everything for fear of further violence.

These are the same parents who are here yelling that “it’s all about the kids” and stuff like that, but as soon as something happens that they don’t agree with, we see that kind of behavior. I wonder, do these parents ever think about the ramifications of their actions and how it affects their children watching them?

Last week at Summer Shine, a friend of mine witnessed one of the physical altercations on one of the fields. He said there was a fight on the pitch and as the coaches were interrupting him, a parent came onto the pitch and started punching one of the coaches right in front of everyone. My friend told me that once it was over, the coach was bloody and beaten.

I wonder if this parent thought about the lasting memory that all these children will have of this incident. Ten years from now many of them will remember this incident more than any sporting achievement they have had on the pitch and that is a shame. I hope this parent has been arrested and prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

Apparently that was just one of the situations that happened last week. According to several people I spoke to, there were incidents at every location the tournament was taking place, which is why I understand why the tournament was canceled. When it gets to the point where even the presence of law enforcement isn’t enough to deter bad behavior, it’s best to cancel everything else, because the end result could be very bad.

There was another violent incident which was shared by a parent on Facebook. This parent shared his story with his son saying, “Today, as I teach and talk to my son about having good sportsmanship, respect and letting him know he did well and don’t fight, “YALL WON.” The opposing team is next to us walking to the car to leave also, the coach feels the need to join my conversation with myself and my child and says you don’t win shit and tells me that my son beats me already & he will too…. So if you know me you know….

“This man tells his kids we just played against to get my kid, whole team rushes Mason, kid flies, needless to say none of my son’s teammates were there because we we went out lol but as a coach that’s what happens in the fight cause you lose it happens too often and it’s bad It was the most embarrassing feeling ever at that specific time to be black.

Of course, there are two sides to every story, but even if some of that is true, this coach should never be in charge of young men again. As a man, I find it very disheartening when a man talks to a woman and her child like this and then tells his players to attack another child. Again, I wasn’t there and there are two sides to every story, but if that’s true, we are very lost as a people.

I wrote about this problem over two years ago and since then the behavior of some of these parents and coaches has steadily worsened. I’m scared of what’s going to happen next because these parents and coaches have become so bold in thinking that they can do whatever they want and say whatever they want without any ramifications.

I suggest they start adopting a zero tolerance policy at these school games and tournaments because if you start banning unruly parents and coaches, I guarantee you we’ll start to see a change in behavior in others. We simply cannot allow these people to continue behaving in this way.

When did youth sports stop being about kids? These parents and coaches turned something that was supposed to be about teaching young people responsibility, sportsmanship and hard work, into something about them. I think if we take those bad parents and coaches out of the equation, we can get back to what makes youth sport great.

And to the parents and coaches out here getting a complete and absolute ass in the stands and on the sidelines, please stop it! It is embarrassing not only for you, but also for your child. Before you decide to start yelling profanities or making threats, or even trying to put other kids on the field down, try to think about why you’re there.

We are all here to enjoy the wonderful talents these youngsters have to showcase for us parents and fans. Stop putting on a show and taking that attention away from the kids. If you can’t control yourself, keep your butt at home, seriously.

Do better as coaches and parents because these kids deserve the best from us because they give their best on the field and on the playing field.

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