The images are indelibly etched into the minds of people who worry about sportsmanship.
Many parents are so anxious to see their children succeed in athletics that they become the epitome of the Ugly Sports Fan.
The image comes complete with a loudmouth mother or father yelling at the umpire, the other players, other fans or even their own children.
It's not a pretty sight. It makes other folks who know there is more to life than winning a baseball or hockey or soccer game shudder.
And now there is evidence that the sad trend called youth sports rage is escalating.
For sure, pushy parents have been around since the emergence of youth sports after World War II with the development of Little League baseball. But it just may be that parents reading about multi-million dollar contracts landed by the pros may produce visions of dollar signs when they look at their athletically inclined sons or daughters. They see Junior as another Tiger Woods or Pete Sampras.
Things have gotten out of hand. A hockey coach was fatally beaten by a father during a youth hockey game in Massachusetts. And now a youth baseball coach turned himself in to face charges he broke an umpire's jaw in Florida.
Part of the problem may be that today's youths have become so specialized. This is true even in the lakes area where there are summer camps for almost every sport. A lack of balance may be contributing to the problem.
Parents must learn to ease the pressure. They must not be so intense.
These tips from the National Alliance for Youth Sports bear repeating:
-- Make only positive, encouraging comments to players -- on both teams.
-- Making mistakes is part of the learning process.
-- Respect the officials.
--Control your emotions.
One interesting footnote to the youth sports problem is that we have become a nation of fat kids. How does that happen when there are so many parents pushing their children to become super athletes?
The message here is simple: Parents must cool it.
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