Learning from the ugliness in youth sports

Return To Article
Add a comment
  • citygrrl SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Jan. 23, 2018 9:22 p.m.

    Yes, team sports for kids can be great but they can also be sources of humiliation, usually prompted by adults who are on some sort of power trip. I will never forget my brother starting to sob as a high school student at dinner one night when he choked out that the coach said, in front of the team, that they would have won the game if it weren't for him. It's one of the most painful memories of my life. I've always regretted that I didn't track down the coach and give him a tongue-lashing and report him to the organizers of the league. And no, I do not think this just has to be a part of growing up. So please, people, if you coach sports and you need to get your ya-yas out through the kids, find some other avenue to express your innate nastiness and aggression.

  • Husker2 Aspen, CO
    Jan. 23, 2018 3:12 p.m.

    @Impartial "Do you realize the liability the rec league faces if that kid, 6 years younger than required, gets hurt or killed, playing against boys twice his size?"

    You are so right. The same parents who think it's cute and funny how their little boy gets to play with the bigger boys will sue the city when the little boy gets hurt. The same has happened when girls have been allowed to play contact sports with boys.

    @patriot "Today if you don't invest in your kids starting around the 7th grade you can pretty much forget them playing in high school. The competition is steep."

    I've coached at the high school level and what you're saying is true. However, the point of the article is that sportsmanship still matters. Kids need better examples than what they see in adult church league and rec league games.

  • patriot Cedar Hills, UT
    Jan. 22, 2018 3:17 p.m.

    re:Not-in-Utah-anymore

    My kids all played club sports and high school sports. My daughters played volleyball and soccer and my son baseball. The high school (Lone Peak) is very competitive so to even have the chance to play at the high school level it required this kind of investment and commitment. I agree with you that sports for our kids should allow for multiple sports and be less of a commitment as it was when I played in the late 70's but that was a long time ago and the world has changed. Today if you don't invest in your kids starting around the 7th grade you can pretty much forget them playing in high school. The competition is steep. As I said there is a big upside to investing in athletics for your kids. First it can be fun for the entire family as you travel to tournaments in other states etc. Second the self esteem, self confidence, and work ethic your child gets has down stream benefits as they go on missions or college etc... At least it did for us.

  • Impartial7 DRAPER, UT
    Jan. 22, 2018 2:50 p.m.

    @JetSetJenn;
    "The coaches son idealizes the players on his older sibling winning team. And he can't wait to be grown up enough to play with them. So because they were up by quite a large margin the coach decided to put him in.
    Or this is this scenario....
    Special needs child is given an opportunity to play, even if inappropriate age relative to the team. "

    Seriously? You're making up good reasons to humiliate the other team? It never should have happened, no matter how much a little kid "idealizes" his brothers team. Do you realize the liability the rec league faces if that kid, 6 years younger than required, gets hurt or killed, playing against boys twice his size? Special needs is now a reason to put a vulnerable kid in the same scenario? That was a wrong move, no matter the motivation.

  • Impartial7 DRAPER, UT
    Jan. 22, 2018 2:32 p.m.

    @flashback;
    "As an official, if the bylaws of the league stated that only players on the permanent roster are permitted to play, the coach just forfeited the game by playing an ineligible player. I'd have no problem forfeiting such a game for that violation."

    You're right, however, it sounds like the officials at this game allowed them to suit up the little kid. They should be suspended. The game should be forfeited and that coach should be banned for the next 3 games. Why do adults have to mess up youth sports?

  • JetSetJenn Draper, UT
    Jan. 22, 2018 2:00 p.m.

    And then there is another explanation all together. And it goes like this....

    The coaches son idealizes the players on his older sibling winning team. And he can't wait to be grown up enough to play with them. So because they were up by quite a large margin the coach decided to put him in.

    Or this is this scenario....

    Special needs child is given an opportunity to play, even if inappropriate age relative to the team.

    There is a lot of absolutely certainty in this article about what the winning team was feeling and their motivations. My son has had the chance to play for both of these types of teams. And sometimes the writer is correct - All the ugly competitive stuff often does come out. But sometimes the kid getting in the game is experiencing personal struggles - and needs a win on the field of sport. Needs it more than the kids with loving parents and stable home lives.

  • Flashback Kearns, UT
    Jan. 22, 2018 1:21 p.m.

    As an official, if the bylaws of the league stated that only players on the permanent roster are permitted to play, the coach just forfeited the game by playing an ineligible player. I'd have no problem forfeiting such a game for that violation.

  • Not-in-Utah-anymore , CA
    Jan. 22, 2018 1:02 p.m.

    "... you need to invest the time and money in personal training and teaching from expert coaches / trainers... Today most kids have to choose one sport and it usually lasts all year long from tournaments to training. The competition is pretty steep and I'm afraid this is the new reality."

    I think it's unfortunate that this is how youth sports are viewed, and that this view is so widely accepted. The true reality is that very very few kids are actually going to compete on collegiate or professional levels, and yet this is the way too many parents think - whether it's sports or dance or theater or whatever. Why can't it just be fun? Why do we have to make it their life's focus instead of just letting them enjoy it?

  • patriot Cedar Hills, UT
    Jan. 22, 2018 12:28 p.m.

    In baseball they have the 10 run rule for situations just like this. If a team is ahead by 10+ points after a certain inning the game ends. This saves boys from the humiliation you speak of. The same rule should apply to youth basketball. If a team is ahead by 20+ points after a certain point in the game then game over. You will never be able to avoid teams / players / coaches in youth athletics who are bad sports or in this case classless. A final thing - if your son or daughter is going to play any sport you need to invest the time and money in personal training and teaching from expert coaches / trainers. It is worth the money and the time for your kids. Athletics today is a far cry from 30 years ago when kids played multiple sports and there was no such thing as club ball. Today most kids have to choose one sport and it usually lasts all year long from tournaments to training. The competition is pretty steep and I'm afraid this is the new reality. The upside is the personal growth your kids gain from tough competition that will serve them all their lives.