I am not an athlete. My only experience with sports was a VERY short stint on my high school’s cross country team and three seasons on the softball team. Cross country seemed like a good idea because I have long legs and I weighed 100 pounds soaking wet. It turns out running totally sucks. So I moved on to softball. I was terrible but my school was very small and if you had a pulse, you could be on the team. I was still playing junior varsity as a senior. After graduation the only time I did anything remotely athletic was when I took a required PE class in college. I was pretty bad at that class too.
Fast forward almost twenty years and all three of my girls play sports. Two are on soccer teams and one is running cross country. I let them decide what they want to play and I encourage them to have fun. I yell encouraging words and I do not criticize.(I don’t actually understand soccer so even if something is being done incorrectly, I am totally clueless). I think sports are a great way to build confidence, stay active, and learn how to work as a team. However, I am noticing that more and more parents see their kids’ sports as a ticket to be superstar or maybe a way to relive their own glory days. Too many adults are yelling but it’s not encouragement, they are yelling because well… I have no idea. I actually heard an adult yell AT a kid on the opposing team last week and I realized that if that person had yelled at MY kid, I wasn’t going to be very diplomatic.
I love great competition and I am guilty of being too critical of referees (I promise to do better). However, I will never scream at my child while she is on a field, court, etc. If someone else thinks it’s okay to do so, I WILL make them stop. And if that situation starts to go south, I still have long legs and can take up running again if needed.