This season’s fall sports are now in full swing — parents gather on the sidelines to cheer for their young athletes, volunteer coaches hope the lessons taught in this week’s practices are remembered, and the athletes themselves range from nervous to clueless. Ahh…such is the life of youth athletics.
But what’s becoming all too common these days are extreme cases of adults gone wild. You know it when you see it. The Mom or Dad who chases her child down the sideline with minute by minute advice (or worse), coaches and parents who yell at young players or referees as if each play could determine the very future of every child on the field, and then there are those fans who only know how to cheer for their child to the exclusion of everyone else on the team.
ABGC takes the issue of sportsmanship on the field extremely seriously. Each of our coaches signs a Code of Conduct designed to keep sportsmanship at the heart of all we do. Our Annandale parents also play an important role here too. Together we can ensure our young athletes learn, grow and have fun on the field. Toward that end, the Positive Coaching Alliance is a non-profit organization created to educate parents, coaches and clubs about the importance of sportsmanship. We highly recommend their website to anyone involved in youth athletics. There are online tools for Parents, Coaches, Officials and more.
Lastly, here’s a more heart-wrenching reminder of just how important sportsmanship is to our young athletes. It’s written for Little Leaguers but applies equally well to all youth sports. Please share it widely with your friends, fans and coaches this season. Help us keep sportsmanship at the heart of every game we play.
He’s Just a Little Boy
He stands at the plate with his heart pounding fast;
The bases are loaded; the die has been cast.
Mom and Dad cannot help him; he stands all alone.
A hit at this moment would send the team home.
The ball nears the plate; he swings and he misses.
There’s a groan from the crow, with some
Boos and hisses.
A thoughtless voice cries, “Strike out the bum!”
Tears fill his eyes; the game’s no longer fun.
So open your heart and give him a break.
For it’s moments like this a man you can make.
Keep this in mind when you hear someone forget,
He’s just a little boy, not a man yet.
The source of this poem is somewhat illusive but it’s most often attributed to Chaplain Bob Fox who was a former minor league pitcher and Little League team manager.