Being a parent of a youth sport athlete, it’s hard, quite frankly, honestly, to be a good role model because you want the best for your kid. You want your kid to win. You want them to try their best and play hard. So, it is really difficult sometimes, but I think you have to hold each other accountable. My wife and I do that. You have to know going in not to get taken up by the moment and just remember your kids are always watching. And if they see you act in a way that… One mistake can almost undercut all of the talks you’ve had about why it’s important to be a great role model. Also, when episodes of poor sportsmanship happen, and unfortunately, things that we’ve seen happen in our kids’ youth sporting events would have been unheard of 15, 20, 30 years ago, when I was growing up playing.
We, literally, had a fight break out in the stands at a game. We had a grandparent who got kicked out of an eight-year-old soccer game for yelling at the referee. And so, when we, unfortunately, see those events as a family, we then talk about them and discuss and dissect how that happened and how emotions got the best of people and caused a really ugly, unfortunate incident. A grandparent getting kicked out of an eight-year-old soccer game where they don’t even keep score is just, unfortunately, the climate that you see at a lot of youth sport events because people are so obsessed with winning, winning, winning, even when you’re not keeping score at that level. And one little call that may have been not the right call, who knows? Someone just totally loses control over it.
That’s the culture, unfortunately, to some extent. Not always, and it’s not the majority of it, but when you do see it, making sure… What we’ve decided to do with our kids is making sure we discuss that, and ensure that we understand why that potentially happened, and how that’s totally unacceptable. But you just have to remember they’re watching, and how you act on the sidelines is… And our kids have called us out on it at times. And so, we just really want to try to be a good role model and emulate the things that we’re talking to them about. So, it’s not just them hearing how behavior should happen from their end on the field, but they see it in us as well.
And of course, cheer, and clap, and encourage, and not drill the kids, or criticize the kids, or try to coach from the sideline. That’s not our job. That’s the coach’s job. We’re there just to be supportive, and hopefully, provide an environment where the kids are having fun. And they appreciate that we like watching them play. It’s fun for us to watch them play, whether they win or lose, whether they have the best game of their life or the worst game of their life. Just being out there as a family and watching them play is really fun and special for us.