Abusive parents causes youth sports crisis, as referees, participation plunges

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Not surprised at all by this. It is a reflection of society as a whole. Too many people are just unfiltered, have misplaced priorities and don’t know how to behave. There used to be a stigma attached to being " that parent “. Now it seems " that parent” is everywhere.


I spend a lot of time at youth sporting events. All of my grands have participated at one time or another. A couple of weeks ago I was a 9 year old flag football game. 2 mothers behind me yelled at their kids (and the refs) the entire game. Not in a good way. I’ve seen it all including a dad in a 13 year old AAU basketball game getting kicked out for yelling at the ref then coming on the court to yell at him in his face. I make a point to thank every coach, ump and referee after every game. And it’s evident that many of the kids would rather be anywhere other than on a court or field getting yelled at by adults. It’s bad.


Lots of parents trying to live their childhood through their kids.

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I also think anything but a perfect outcome is unacceptable. Entitlement.


Like most things today, there is just so much money involved, it’s almost impossible to regulate this stuff without upsetting some of “your clients” and damaging “your product.”

I umpired briefly for little league when I was younger. I had to deal with parents, but not at this level.

Best compliment I ever received from a parent:“You know, I freakin’ hate you so much. But, you call a fair game.”


This is interesting. Had a gentleman who came in my office about two weeks ago. He was a Little League Umpire (and he’s done the LLWS). He said the area he ump’s in has had to cancel games because of the lack of umps. He said the other sports are struggling for officials as well. He blames it on the parents. He said he’s actually made two teams forfeit because of the parents. Said he feels sorry for the kids.

I have no doubt about this. I did run into a little league ump from Texas working games for a NWA baseball tournament this summer. I asked how he was being treated and he actually said good things about the parents. Although not perfect, he said he didn’t have any major issues that weekend.

Biggest problem I see in Colorado and in the club systems my daughter’s play for (soccer and volleyball) is that the clubs are misguiding parents. Making many parents think their daughters are good enough to be a D1 athlete (or at a minimum a college athlete). This puts expectations for the kids at a different level within the parents view. I pulled two fathers of girls on my daughters soccer team over to the side this weekend (in Vail by coincidence of article call out) and told them to calm down and let their daughters enjoy themselves competing with the team. They were almost embarrassed when I repeated a few things they had yelled to their daughters and both teams. I’m starting to see way more parents stand up as a group and kindly call out the delusional parents as my daughters are entering high school vs youth.

I also say values you learn through trial and error, win and lose, up and down, are being lost by poor coaching within the club environments. They are treating it too much like a business. All sports have so many team building and individual lessons that can be learned to better the kids for a more successful future in life. Unfortunately, too many clubs I’ve seen here in Colorado don’t believe in being teachers or leaders of young men and women. I do see way better coaching in our High Schools.

I think those parents fear their kid sucks, as if sports is somehow a way of measuring his/her worth. Those parents are on this message board screaming at razorbacks, so they think screaming at their kids will keeps others from screaming about them on message boards. In some delusional way they parent thinks he/she is helping their kid from embarrassment, when it’s really the other way around.

So relevant today and in my past when my boys were coming up…2 in college and one in dental school. My rules for sports:

  1. Try your hardest and work to get better. Don’t let the other team beat you bc they outworked you.
  2. Keep a good positive attitude
  3. Have FUN playing a GAME you love, bc being a grown up and having responsibilities will come.
  4. If you can’t abide my all 3 of the above rules, we’ll go home and stay home until you can.

I had my moments as a competitive parent, but some of the stuff we hear at youth sporting events is ridiculous


I was driving last week between Grand Rapids and Lansing and every other commercial was for umpires / refs. Basically said the same thing. Without applicants the games won’t happen

My dad had similar rules, but the alternative was “or go to work”.

One or two high school football games each week in SW Missouri have had to move to Thursday or Saturday to accommodate for a shortage of referees.

I’ve seen former Hogs, James Rouse, Sparky Hamilton, and Mike Harris calling high school games recently. Ernie Murray calls lot of Hoops.

It’s good to see those guys giving back.

It was bad in the 90’s.

And I built the fields, Mercy!!

I’ve seen former Razorback OL Colby Berna reffing a game on Championship Saturday in Hot Springs. Surprisingly, no onebeas giving him any crap!

RD, no doubt this is a problem.

My 3 sons swim, play tennis and wrestle. And I have watched years of all 3. I can honestly say that at least 95% of the time, players and coaches and parents are very well behaved. Like 1950’s , respectful, true sportsmanship.

Now youth baseball on the other hand, yikes, crazy parents.


Baseball is bad, but club soccer may be the worst. I think there is a correlation between how much parents pay for their kids to play a sport, and how poorly those parents behave.

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Music and sports are very similar…and I can LOUDLY ATTEST to this eagle. My wife had a Celtic fiddling troupe with kids ranging from age 5 to 18. For 20 years. They were amazing. Toured Ireland. Made CD’s. The whole thing. She gave it up because of the parents.

Not the kids.

The parents.

I saw the same even at the college level. Parents calling to bitch on behalf of their COLLEGE KID. Its gone too far.