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Why Sports Parents Sometimes Behave So Badly

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There are some interesting observations in this article in the New York Times that may have some applicability to Scouting (sorry for the giant text - I don’t know how to fix that):

>> “Parents spend a lot of time and financial resources on youth sports, which can prompt some to want a payoff greater than watching their children perform well or enjoy themselves.”

>> “... children who perceived their parents as investing heavily in their sport tended to report a greater sense of parental pressure and a reduced sense of enjoyment.”

>> “... a desire to belong is another reason some parents become emotionally overinvested in their child’s sports. Traveling to tournaments and other investments of time and money can produce a tribal effect and sense of community.”

>> “Dr. Dorsch’s laboratory is also testing parental emotional involvement in the performing arts, such as musical theater, orchestra and dance.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/01/well/family/why-sports-parents-sometimes-behave-so-badly.html

What are your worst parent stories, and how do you counter that and help their kids to grow in Scouts?

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Worst?  How about Best ! True story.... 

Cub Scout Day Camp: 200 plus Cubs. Last day, water festival day. 85degrees, sunny.   No Scout Program to speak of (unless you count the slip'n slide rescue rope pull).  I am serving as "First Assistant Everything Else"  after being Archery Range SO (wife was the CSDC Director ).  Even if there is an official activities rotation (bugle every hour), Cubs are running around, getting wet, sliding on the slides,  climbing on the hay bales,  throwing wet sponges at targets,  etc.  Woman comes up to me (I am an identified "person in authority") and waves her arms around, quote, " I have never seen such a disorganized bunch of kids in my life ! What are they doing ? What should they be doing?  What happened to the great skills and rank earning they did yesterday? I don't know WHAT to think. My son is not doing anything scoutlike today. Why is this allowed ? "  I smiled at her and asked, "where is your Cub?"  She pointed at the haybale pile "over there !"  "Is he having fun?  Is he complaining about the activities?"  "I guess he's having fun, is that okay  for a Scout Camp ??? "  I said it was all part of the plan.  She starred at me and walked away, shaking her head.   

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The "best ports parent" I ever witnessed was a hockey father whose son was executing some questionable checks and getting away with them as the refs missed it. The boy was smart enough to do things when the refs weren't looking. The father told the coach to bench his son for his behavior, and have a conversation about "sportsmanlike behavior". This was extremely out of character for most hockey dads.

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I believe it is all about scholarships.  People are desperate to be able to afford the price of college these days and I hear people talk about scholarships 100x more than anyone ever did when I was young.  

Pretty much the same reason that is having a bad impact and cheapening the Eagle award.

Edited by ham_solo
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Two of my brothers and a cousin entered college on athletic scholarships. One lasted a term the other two earned their degree with their scholarship. One went pro. But, as far as I can tell, none of them where coddled by their parents. Sports was just one of many ways to get through college.

We try to counsel parents of young athletes in the same way.

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When I played in Little League back in the late 70s/early 80s, there was a mom who would shout out how much she was paying her son for each hit he got during the game.

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On 11/3/2018 at 8:05 PM, SSScout said:

Worst?  How about Best ! True story.... 

Cub Scout Day Camp: 200 plus Cubs. Last day, water festival day. 85degrees, sunny.   No Scout Program to speak of (unless you count the slip'n slide rescue rope pull).  I am serving as "First Assistant Everything Else"  after being Archery Range SO (wife was the CSDC Director ).  Even if there is an official activities rotation (bugle every hour), Cubs are running around, getting wet, sliding on the slides,  climbing on the hay bales,  throwing wet sponges at targets,  etc.  Woman comes up to me (I am an identified "person in authority") and waves her arms around, quote, " I have never seen such a disorganized bunch of kids in my life ! What are they doing ? What should they be doing?  What happened to the great skills and rank earning they did yesterday? I don't know WHAT to think. My son is not doing anything scoutlike today. Why is this allowed ? "  I smiled at her and asked, "where is your Cub?"  She pointed at the haybale pile "over there !"  "Is he having fun?  Is he complaining about the activities?"  "I guess he's having fun, is that okay  for a Scout Camp ??? "  I said it was all part of the plan.  She starred at me and walked away, shaking her head.   

I agree totally. Scouting should be fun.  It's the reason we do it.  That said, the fun is the way we teach the rest.  IMHO, that's the problem with most youth sports these days--they aren't fun. 

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I think it is about scholarships.  The irony is except for the revenue sports like men's FB and BB there are very few full scholly's available.  Except for a few truly exceptional folks in the non rev you might be looking at a partial. And the coach cares not a lick about your academics beyond staying eligible.  Many friends whoi had kids play a D1 sport and it was a like a job. they hated the sport by the time they finished or at best saw it as a means to an end.  The joy was long gone.  My oldest was a pretty good softball player but no way she could get an athletic scholarship.  However her ACT brought in plenty of scholarships.  Academics usually is the best (and easiest to control) in getting help paying.

Scouts is our Alamo.  We will dump any/all other activities before we let that go.  It is the only activity, or one of the few, where your participation isn't linked to performance.  You are allowed to fail.  Strike out 3 times--grab the pine.  Dump your kayak 3 times--when you are done laughing w/ your buds get back in and try again.  My kid loves soccer/baseball but I have never seen him smile like he did at summer camp out on the lake w/ his buds.  And scouts, when done right, is one of the few activities where the adults sit over there and let the boys do their thing, work out their disputes, enjoy the moment, and not get "helped" until they ask.  No refs, no "coaches" projecting their hopes/dreams/past failures on the kids hoping a big league GM sees their masterful coaching and offers them a gig w/ the big club.  And any kid--rich or poor--can participate.  In fact, we will help equip a poor kid if need be, with good stuff.  Try getting anyone on a travel team to let a teammate use this years $350 carbon fiber bat.

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21 minutes ago, wdfa89 said:

I think it is about scholarships. 

The hope for the scholarship has never made financial sense

Scenario 1 - You pay for kid to be in travel ball for 7 years and pay maybe $60K in fees and expenses (that is low I think) hoping for a scholarship, low chance of success

Scenario 2 - You put that same $60k in a qualified 529 plan and for the same period, and when kid graduates may have $70k which can pay for a good chunk of college with the sure thing

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