Army of Mom

So this is how liberty dies ... with thunderous applause.

10.01.2005

Silent Saturday

As is usual, we have soccer today. But, what is different this time is that our local association is having a "silent day" in which coaches and parents can't coach or offer instruction. All we can do is "cheer for both teams."

*rolling my eyes*

This is some touchy-feeling BS that I'm really not all about. Yeah, some parents and coaches are over the top and scream and yell at their kids creating a negative experience. But, we're not about that and we resent the hell out of them telling us that we can't instruct our boys on what the coach wants them to do.

Here is what our commissioner sent us:

The main idea of Silent Day is to allow the children to play without constant verbal instruction or criticism from someone... As coaches and parents we can cheer, applaud, and make positive comments... The players can talk all they want... Please inform any spectators that you bring along with you of what we are trying to achieve.Let's try to make it fun for the players and the spectators--especially the players!

Please read the enclosed article. Maybe it's not you, our your parents and spectators, but I can assure you that some of this has happened and DSA wants to turn it around.

Enjoy the Game
Can parents and students truly enjoy an athletic experience? FCA's Bill Stutz thinks so, and he wants to show you how.
By Jill Ewert
According to Sports Illustrated, 70% of kids drop out of sports by theage of 13. Why? Because adults, particularly parents, have turned gamesinto negative experiences through their behavior, criticism and constantpressure.
FCA area rep Bill Stutz has held many roles in the sporting world. He's been a player, a coach and an official. Now, as a sports parent, Stutzis doing what he can to reverse this trend. Prior to taking his current position with FCA, Stutz founded the organization Enjoy the Game(r)-aneducational program designed to restore civility back to the sports environment.
And as the fall sports season began to heat up, Stutz satdown with STV editor Jill Ewert to talk about what parents and students can do to truly begin enjoying the games once more.
JE: How big of an issue is anger in sports today?
BS: We're living in the kind of society where you worry about #1, andunfortunately it spills over into sports. Statistics from the NationalAlliance of Youth Sports show that 15-20% of youth sporting events involve some kind of behavior that requires a written special report. And they say it's escalating.

JE: Why do you think that is?
BS: Primarily, there are three reasons why parents get out of control. One, they're chasing that pot at the end of the rainbow. They think their kid is going to be the one to cash in, so they're going to dowhatever they can to make sure that happens. The second reason is because they're living vicariously through their kids. They fell short of that pot at the end of the rainbow, and they say, "That's not going to happen to my kid! They're going to make it!"And the third reason I think they do it is because they have an over-evaluation of their kid. They think their kid is a lot better than the kid really is.

JE: Tell me how Enjoy the Game(r) first got started.
BS: When I started watching my son play with his friends-just the way they walked on and off the court-they weren't having a lot of fun. I would look at the faces of their coaches, and I would see the stress and anxiety. And I looked up in the stands and saw the parents with their veins popping out from stress. And, man, those parents were embarrassing their kids with some of the things they were saying. So I did some research. I talked with some athletic directors and some administrators. I asked them "Am I too sensitive, or is this real?" They said, "It's very real. It's getting bad." So we decided to do something about it.

JE: Give me an overview. What is the purpose of the organization?
BS: We want to restore civility back to youth sports. We want to raise anew generation of players, coaches and parents who really understand what their role is while they are at an event-to insure they control the things they can control, and therefore not only enjoy the game themselves, but make sure everybody around them enjoys the game as well.

JE: How do you do that?
BS: We do it with three phases: education, accountability and venue awareness. To me, the number one issue is education. Players, coaches and parents are being fed misinformation about the way they are supposed to behave at sporting events. We need to explain to them their roles as players, coaches and parents, so they can have a better understanding of how they're supposed to act when they come to a game. And once you teach them what it is they should know, you can hold them accountable to that standard. Within the education element there are three principles. The first one is that coaches have to make difficult decisions. I've never met a coach who intentionally made a bad decision that they hoped would be detrimental to their team. Every coach goes in with a plan. They've prepared it, they've strategized it, and now it's time to call the game. And if all is going well we say, "Boy, this coach is awesome." But as soon as it goes bad we say, "Why wasn't my kid in there? How come he didn't get to play?" But we have to learn to trust our coaches, because they have more invested in the game. Before the practice, they prepare the practice. They run the practices. They strategize the games. Then when the game is over, they analyze it all, and they beat themselves up about things they could have done differently. The last thing they need is for a parent to call them, or a kid to go pouting to them about why they didn't play. If they thought it would have helped, believe me, they would've had your kid in there. We've got to trust our coach. Or in the 1% of the time when you really have a hard time trusting the coach, you have to find the right time and the right place to go talk him or her. But in those cases, the parents had better be ready to hear the rest of the story, because it's probably something their kids aren't telling them about the way they practice, about the way they listen, and so on. The second principle is to understand that players aren't perfect. When you go to a sporting event, things are going to happen. Your kid is going to strike out or miss a free-throw. It's going to happen. And not only your kid, but their teammates. I use the example of Michael Jordan's shooting percentage when he was in the NBA. He made 50.3% of his shots. That means half the time he shot, he missed. You can't expect 13-yearolds to make every single shot. If you ask kids what is the worst part of their sporting event, they'll tell you it's the ride home with dad in the car. We call it the "PGA," the post-game analysis. Parents have got to stay away from that. Instead, ask your kid three questions. Did you work hard? Did you have fun? Did you enjoy the game? And as they get older, you ask them also what they learned. And that's all you've got to worry about. Now the third principle- probably the hardest one-is that referees and officials must deal with controversy. Controversy exists in a sporting event whether an official is there or not. If you go play a pick-up game of basketball on any playground, I guarantee within the first 3-4 minutes there's going to be an argument. So why do we think that just because the official is there that all of a sudden we can berate him or her? It doesn't make any sense. Before parents even leave the house, they need to understand that when they go to the game, there's going to be controversy. I'm so glad we have paid officials who are trained to make split-second decisions. We're going to live with it if it goes our way, and we're going to live with it if it doesn't go our way. But we have to respect the call and move on. And there are two things about this that really get people. The first is that every official is a real person. If that was your son or daughter or mother out there, would you want somebody treating them the way you treat officials? The second reason is to ask what you are teaching these young, impressionable kids who are watching you as an adult deal with authority figures. Whether it's a teacher, you as their parent or a police officer, you're telling him or her that it's acceptable behavior to yell and scream at authority figures as long as you think you're right. Now, the third overall element, like I said, is venue awareness. Wear something, look at something, have something on you that's going to be a reminder. Maybe you put on a bracelet or wear a cross around your neck. Obviously, preparation before the game is going to be the biggest tool that you have. Be prepared before you walk in to know that you're walking into an environment that's not going to be a rose garden. You can always ask yourself, "What would Jesus do?" But on the other hand, you need to ask yourself, "What am I going to do?" We all know what Jesus would do. But, you display His discipline when you ultimately ask yourself, "What am I going to do?"

JE: Okay. Ideally then, how should a great sporting event feel for both the parents and the kids?
BS: They should feel that they just experienced an environment where the players were allowed to play, the coaches did their job in coaching, the officials officiated, and the spectators were a positive influence on the environment. If everybody would do their own job-no one crossing over and doing anybody else's job-that would be the ideal environment for kids to play sports.

JE: What about the athletes? What are some things that students can do in response to a parent if they are putting too much pressure on them or are acting inappropriately?
BS: I think they need to sit down with their parents and ask them why they come to the games, and what is their motivation for supporting what the kid is involved with. There was a study done where 100 kids were asked why they played sports. They said to have fun and to be around their friends, to learn and compete, and #8 on the list was winning. At the same time their parents were asked why they had their kids involved in sports, and the parents #1 reason was winning. So until you have that conversation to ask, "Why do you think I'm involved?" the parents and kids are usually on different pages.

JE: I know that some kids would probably feel uncomfortable talking directly with their parents about it, so is there an alternative to one-on one confrontation?
BS: Sometimes the best way to handle it, especially with high schoolers, is in a group. Have the entire team bring in their parents and as a group say, "We want to let you know that we feel uncomfortable when you all start booing, etc., and there are a few of you who critique us on the way home."

JE: That way nobody would feel on the spot.
BS: Exactly. And then at the end they can say, "With all these things we've just thrown out to you, you need to evaluate if you're violating any of these, and if so, would you please stop because we're not having any fun." Now, I do want to say one thing about this whole situation. It's a good metaphor that helps people really picture what goes on. At every sporting event, the match is going to get struck. Something controversial is going to happen. The real issue is how close that match gets to somebody's wick and how fast that wick burns before the explosion happens. We have to blow the match out as quickly as possible. You can't avoid the kid making a mistake. You can't avoid a missed call by an official. But when that match gets struck, how fast can we blow it out so that it doesn't hit somebody's wick and doesn't burn, ultimately becoming an explosion? Because when the explosion happens, the people that get damaged the most are the kids.
---
Ok, back to my two cents. I can't believe some parents would actually boo at a youth sporting event. That is just beyond my comprehension. I bouth Coach AoD some lollypops to keep in his mouth today to try and remind him not to yell. We also have some sunflower seeds, too. I'm just afraid he is going to look like that scene from Scanners and his head will implode if he can't shout instructions out to the kids. I was told we get one warning before the referee will send us to the concession stand to watch from there. I hope Coach Kojak can handle it.

6 Comments:

  • At 10:49 AM, October 01, 2005, Blogger Uzz said…

    All you need to do is think back to Pickle's (Mini-Uzz) Little League baseball experience. There were coaches and parents that would taunt our kids!!! I am sure you can remember how I (the slow to anger laid back Uzz) almost got thrown off the property after confrontations with some of them.

    That said, this is stupid...AoD should be able to coach...period. Though I would pay money to see how our rival team's coach handles this...he may have an aneurism on the field.

     
  • At 4:38 PM, October 01, 2005, Blogger Army of Mom said…

    I agree that it was useless. I can see how it is good for the older boys to play together as a team more, but what is the purpose of a coach if he isn't there to coach? Both our teams won, but by smaller margins than normally because the coaching helps them play better.

     
  • At 5:22 PM, October 01, 2005, Anonymous Alli said…

    I think its fitting that the guys initals are BS during the interview. What a tool. I'm glad they never had us to "silent days" when I was growing up, mostly because my coach wouldn't have been able to even come to the meet. He would've turned purple with rage at not being able to yell. :P

     
  • At 6:49 AM, October 03, 2005, Anonymous Army of Dad said…

    Well I didn't get thrown out and both teams won.

    I was amused at the number of association people that just had to come watch pert of either game. One of our refs for Pickle's game even brought a sucker out to give to me. He and I are friends and have reffed together on many occasions as well as called games for each other's teams so I took it in good humor.

     
  • At 10:48 PM, May 01, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

     
  • At 8:30 AM, May 02, 2006, Blogger Army of Mom said…

    Wow, I'm crushed. Someone get me a tissue. A troll just said something ugly to me.

    *note the sarcasm*

     

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