It was about as far from a victimless crime as you could get. When a man died in Reading, Mass., on July 5, news, after he and another hockey parent brawled after their sons' practice, it left a host of victims behind.
Besides the dead man, Michael Costin, his alleged killer, Thomas Junta, whose manslaughter trial has begun, and their sons, who witnessed the tragedy, there's an entire stunned community left to wonder how a trivial hockey argument could result in such tragedy.
Actually, it hardly came as a surprise to the National Alliance for Youth Sports, a nonprofit organization in West Palm Beach, Fla. The group has noted a growing trend of parental rage at youth sporting events, which has led to a number of violent incidents.
Youth sports poses a challenge for parents. It is natural for a mother and father to show up at these events and lend vocal support, and they're certainly expressing more commitment than those who prefer to stay home and watch TV.
However, the line between hollering "for" and "against" something is a fine one that can all too easily be crossed, creating an emotional cauldron that is prone to spill over.
It is up the to parents to have the maturity to deal with these emotions and keep them from flaring out of control. This may be easier said than done, but the alternative can lead to disaster, as the victimized people of one Massachusetts town found out.
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