×

Parents need to let the coaches coach

We were pleasantly surprised that the rumored coup attempt against Mifflin County boys basketball coach Scott Gaffey instead turned into a show of support by his players. We expected he would join a long list of coaches, here and elsewhere, under attack by parents who forgot their role in the process.

At many local events, you may hear an announcer say this: Let the players play, let the coaches coach and let the officials call the game. Not often said out loud, but just as important, is this: A parent’s job at a game is to sit in the bleachers, clap for their kid and buy a hot dog (to support the team, of course).

Sports organizations — youth leagues and school districts — evaluate applicants and choose coaches based on a variety of factors.

If you are not the coach, you have no decision-making role for the team. If you are not the coach, you have no right to chastise the person who is.

It is not your place. It is not your job. Your job is to sit in the bleachers, clap for your kid and buy a hot dog.

That doesn’t mean you can’t have an adult discussion with the coach, or ask reasonable questions. You are not within reason if you are telling the coach how to do his or her job, or demanding explanations regarding your child’s playing time.

Those are the coach’s prerogative, and as long as the coach holds his or her job, you have to live with those decisions.

Sit in the bleachers. Clap for your kid. Buy a hot dog. Let the players play. Let the coaches coach. Let the officials call the game.

Bad behavior by sports parents is nothing new — violent behavior, while rare, is not unheard of when it comes to youth sports. But it’s getting out of hand — way out of hand — and the parents who think they are acting in their child’s best interest, more often than not, are doing a disservice not only to their child, but to the positive values that sports is supposed to teach.

Soon there will be no sports for kids. There will be no coaches, no officials because no one will want to take on the jobs and deal with the poor sports who are their players’ parents.

The sad part is, the kids often want to side with their coach — they understand that high school sports is a meritocracy; that “everybody plays” ended in Little League. They want to be on the team and play their part. And the kids often are smart enough to know what their part is.

School district administrators and school boards face the unenviable task of reminding parents what their part is. And then grill up another hot dog.

COMMENTS