Dear Parents Of Child Athletes, Please Don't Be THAT Parent

Dear Parents Of Child Athletes, Please Don't Be THAT Parent

Lately, news outlets have been littered with a fistfight between parents and coaches over an umpire call at a 7-year-old baseball game.


The umpire of the Lakewood, Colorado little league game was only 13 years old. I have gone through umpire training and it is so much more difficult than it looks. There are mechanics involved, you have to watch an entire field every swing of the bat, you have to have extensive knowledge of the rule book and be ready for any scenario. Really it was so difficult I haven't used the license I received because I'm too nervous to have this happen at a game where I make a questionable call.

But what I learned is there is a massive umpire shortage so if you're wondering why a 13-year-old is umping that game, it's because a professional probably wasn't available.

I have been on both sides, both officiating and playing competitively and I have seen so many parents behave as poorly as this during games for something out of their control.

So, if you're that parent please listen to what I have to say.

If your child is any younger than a sophomore, they aren't headed to a college or professional league any time soon so ease up a little bit. Officers are underpaid and hard to come by. I have been a basketball referee and as I said a licensed umpire and both are extremely stressful and you can only see so many things at once. So if a call is made poorly or you don't agree, please just leave the officiator be. We most likely know the call was bad and we can't take it back, or we had a different angle and could maybe see just a little bit more than you so that justified our decision. Either way, it won't make or break their careers so it's OK.

Your children will eventually either not want you at their games or they won't want to play a sport anymore because if they make a mistake they hear about those mistakes all season, which takes the fun out of it. No child likes to have a parent who is getting tossed out of every other game or to see their parent having to sit with the athletic director to prevent outbursts. Like I said it really is not that serious.

It's OK to be frustrated when a game is going poorly or if a coach benches your child. You want to see them as awesome and that's great, but save that discussion with the coach for after the game, otherwise an argument breaks out and you have a child who is focused on you and their coach as opposed to the game they're there to play. You also face the possibility of pulling the entire teams focus and that's never fun.

Let them have fun and be a good example! Bad calls suck, but that doesn't mean it needs to ruin the game. At such a young age as this Colorado game, they are there for the fun and experience. They're learning so they don't need every move critiqued, they need coaching, not yelling. They also need a good example set for them that shows them how to act towards a coach or official, you can be an awesome example for them.

So as a former player and an officiator, I just ask that you have a little mercy on coaches and officiators alike, no matter the sport, and let your kids have fun. Consider their age, if they're young it isn't a career so try not to treat every call as if it just ruined their entire career.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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