This Youth Baseball League Posted An Important Reminder For Players' Parents

"It's just a game."

It's important to teach young athletes about good sportsmanship, but sometimes their parents could do with a refresher themselves. Farragut Baseball Inc., a nonprofit youth baseball league in Tennessee, recently responded to aggressive behavior from grown-ups on the sidelines by posting a sign featuring a few "reminders from your child."

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The sign includes the messages "I'm a kid," "It's just a game," "My coach is a volunteer," "The officials are humans," and "No college scholarships will be handed out today." It ends with a reminder to "have fun" — because isn't that what it's all about?

League director Steven Branson told WBIR that the sign was "probably long overdue," adding, "They're just kids. Let's not put too much pressure on them because that comes soon enough without our help anyway."

Unfortunately, it's all too common to witness the parents of young players taking the sport too seriously, sometimes to the point of anger or even violence. Just last month, a youth football team in Albuquerque, New Mexico, was suspended for the season after a parent body-slammed a referee during a game.

Inappropriate behavior from the adults in charge or on the sidelines seems to be a widespread problem. A 2017 survey of more than 17,000 referees by the National Association of Sports Officials found that 57 percent of respondents believe sportsmanship is getting worse, with 39.3 percent blaming parents and 29.5 percent blaming coaches. 

According to the Washington Post, increasing pressure and competitiveness may even be the reason fewer kids are choosing to play sports these days. "We no longer value participation. We value excellence," sports management professor Mark Hyman told the publication in 2015.

Not to mention, parents who act out at games are setting a poor example for the kids who look up to them. As John O'Sullivan, founder of the Changing the Game Project, told CNN, "Kids are not very good at listening, but they are fantastic at imitating ... And so if you want your kids to display good sportsmanship, you should. If you don't want your kids to yell at referees, you shouldn't yell at referees."

Farragut Baseball isn't the only league to take parents' behavior seriously. In 2013, it was reported that, since 2004, Blue Valley Recreation in Kansas has required all parents to take a course in good sportsmanship and sign a code of ethics contract before the start of the season.

"There comes a certain point in time ... you'll not be able to play baseball, softball, volleyball, but the lessons of sportsmanship you'll take throughout life," Blue Valley executive director Steve Baysinger told KSHB.

(H/T: WBIR)

Cover image: Suzanne Tucker / Shutterstock.com

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