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YMCA Bans All Parents From Watching Kids' Games

youth-sportsThe unruly fans have gone and done it. One YMCA has decided to boot all parents out of the stands of their kids’ basketball games.

ALL of them.

Organizers at the Y in Worcester, Mass. told parents their unacceptable behavior prompted the “fan ban,” something they hope will return the focus on kids’ sports to sportsmanship and fun.

Although we as parents all want the chance to enjoy watching our kids play, we have to admit the incidents in the stands have gotten out of control.

Remember the father who choked a coach for benching his son during a youth hockey game? Or the athletic club commissioner knocked out cold with a dislocated jaw because a dad was angry over his sixth graders’ basketball game? The substitute coach (read dad) who head butted the other coach during a kids’ baseball game?

These parents aren’t helping their kids get ahead in the game. They’re teaching them that being a bully is OK, that violence is acceptable, and often putting them through the trauma of watching the cops show up to arrest Mom or Dad.

The University of Minnesota is now sponsoring a program specifically to teach parents about fostering positive environments at youth games – because things have gotten so out of control. At the Massachusetts Y, the idea is to send a message that will set parents straight.

But there’s always the other side of the coin. What does not having Mom and Dad at their games do to the kids? Practice is one thing, but games are the chance kids have to shine, and they actually like showing off their skills to their parents. For kids who are apprehensive about the big game, having Mom or Dad on the sidelines can be a big confidence booster.

Is kicking out the whole apple barrel because of a few bad seeds the way to go?

Image: keithminer, flickr

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