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Booing a 12 Year Old

Ok, so this isn’t exactly a chiropractic blog, too bad!

As a father of four and longtime coach you begin to think that you have seen everything there is to see in youth sports.

I was recently at a 12 year old baseball game when I saw something I have never seen before…a group of adults booing… at a 12 year old baseball game.

Please let me set the scene.

My son’s team is in Fitchburg at a baseball tournament on a beautiful cloud free Sunday morning. The game is well played by both teams with my sons team trailing heading into the last inning. As luck would have it, my sons team scores three runs and takes the lead heading into the home team’s final at bats. The opposing team has one runner on with two outs when their best hitter comes to the plate. My sons coach calls time and walks out to the mound to instruct the pitcher to intentionally walk the batter.

After the first pitch I can hear what sounds a little like booing, however, I am convinced that I am not hearing this correctly, for who boos anything at a 12 year old game?

The second pitch comes in and the booing is now unmistakable, most of the parents from the other team are booing loudly. At this point our pitcher has a bewildered look on his face as it is obvious that he does not understand why they are booing.

When the third pitch is thrown the booing is now louder than ever. The 12 year old pitcher is visibly upset that this is occurring. As the pitcher goes to the mound, he turns and walks away and begins getting emotional. The umpires recognize this and do a fantastic job huddling around him and attempt to get him calmed down.

While this is going on, I got to thinking.

Why would someone boo anything at a youth event? Is the outcome of this event so important to you that you feel the need to try and “get in the head” of the opponent?

Is it possible this was all in fun? Maybe, and I have to give props to one of the parents, he came over and apologized when he realized the effect it was having on the player.

Maybe I am wrong here, however, I really don’t care about the wins and losses. After having attended literally thousands of youth sporting events, the outcomes just don’t matter to me. Think back to your son or daughters last season. Remember the third game they played…do you remember the score? Exactly, no one does!

Here is what is important to me…that my children try their best, be good teammates, treat both other teams and officials with respect, be willing to be coached, be held accountable, be willing to learn from mistakes, be humble, be gracious and most of all have fun with their friends, both old and new.

Now, do I think that everyone deserves a trophy? Not even close. I like that we keep score. The world keeps score and it is good for the kids to learn that in a safe environment.

I also don’t think they should win every game. How boring would that be? Oftentimes you will learn more from the losses than you will the wins, both in youth sports and life.

If I can offer any advice to a parent that is really caught up in all the wins and losses. Please remember to enjoy this time, you only get one crack at it and I would hate for you to miss it while stressing out worrying about if Johnny’s team can win their travel soccer game. I can assure you that Johnny will have forgotten the score of that game by the time he is done with his after game ice cream. You did stop for ice cream right?

Do you have any youth sports stories you want to share? Please comment below and we can discuss.

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