Poor role models have set the tone, from pro athletes on down
How unfortunate that veteran sports officials and potential new recruits are being driven away from officiating youth sports because of the boorish behavior of fans, parents, coaches, and the youths themselves (“Fields of fire drive refs from school games,” Page A1, Nov. 3). While there are many factors contributing to the situation, I see two as prominent.
First, fewer of our professional athletes are serving as role models of civil, respectful behavior. Increasingly, many pros are modeling disrespect with their taunts and trash talking, which they have made almost a normal part of playing sports.
Second, much blame goes on the shoulders of coaches, who themselves exhibit bad sportsmanship, such as yelling and foul language, and fail to expect and demand that their players conduct themselves respectfully.
If coaches act poorly or do not teach and model proper behavior, then it’s on the shoulders of athletic directors to step in, and, if not them, then principals and superintendents need to set the tone.
All of these individuals, in turn, need to speak out and correct parent behavior. Responsible educators simply need to act responsibly by treating the playing fields as the classrooms they are.
Put those parents on the practice fields too
Maybe when players come to a practice, parents should come too. Parents will be taught sportsmanlike behavior while their kids learn the sport.
New Boston, N.H.
There is a fine referee-free alternative out there
It is a sad reality when high school referees literally fear for their safety because some over-caffeinated helicopter parents can’t get their priorities straight. The good news is that there is another option available to students that balances key elements of soccer, basketball, and football, but without the concussions, or the referees. Ultimate Frisbee is self-officiating, highly competitive, and gaining popularity as a varsity sport across Massachusetts.