This past week I was constantly reminded how fortunate I and my family are to be around a group of parents who keep perspective about the sports their kids are involved with and value building character more than just winning games. This is in part due to the culture created by the organizations and promoted by the coaching staff. Why is this a big deal? Because I can’t go a tournament without hearing a parent from the stands demean their child for striking out or missing a ground ball. Just yesterday between softball games in a batting cage in Indiana, I saw first hand a coach belittle a 10U softball player because she wasn’t ‘Swinging hard enough,’ in his opinion. Why is this type of behavior tolerated? Why do parents allow their kids to be subjected to such stupidity? I believe it’s the false belief that they must endure this type of behavior if they want their kid to be on the team they feel is going to propel them to greatness and the coveted scholarship. Unfortunately, the reality for many kids involved in travel sports is quite the opposite with only a select few obtaining scholarship money at the collegiate level.
In sharp contrast to my witnessing a coach lambaste the aforementioned softball player, I was fortunate to witness a parent take it upon himself to provide guidance and motivation to a player who was disappointed with his performance in a previous game. It is this type of caring and support that helps to make me a rich man. Not the financial type of rich, but the kind of rich you have when you know any parent on a team would do whatever they could to help any player smile after all seems to have been lost. I urge you, cheer on your kid and also cheer for every other kid just as hard. If they’re feeling down because they didn’t perform as well as they wanted, pat ’em on the butt and tell them it’s going to be ok.
It truly does take a village. If you aren’t able to share these sentiments about your team, I urge you to keep searching. There are teams that care and will help your child become the best person possible.