This photo, posted on Twitter by sports writer Jeff Pearlman, circulated through social media last week. For good reason, it got a fair amount of attention.
I think this sign should be placed outside of every youth field.
Most of us have seen parents screaming at their daughters if they make bad plays. We’ve watched obnoxious observers screaming at bad calls in youth football games. We know how some parents like to question the coaches in front of their young players.
We have to remember that these are just kids. They won’t get college scholarship offers or pro contracts at eight or nine years old. Their coaches are often serving in those roles because they love the sport and want to teach kids to play it. And the referees are usually working the games as side jobs around their full-time careers.
Youth sports should focus on fun. Kids should have fun while learning the proper techniques of the sport and rules and strategies of the game. They shouldn’t feel immense pressure from parents living their sports dreams through their kids.
Plus that sideline behavior sets a bad example of how kids should act. Instead, we should teach good sportsmanship and act as role models for good behavior.
Leagues and teams in all sports should use signs like this one to reinforce this message.