By Hoops

Last week I was reading another newspaper article about sports and parents -"Hooligan parent needs to stay away from kids' game". Once again, the focus was on hockey and how some parents are way too involved in their kids' sports and create problems at games with officials and other parents. It made me think - are things that much different in basketball? This is a delicate subject because, as Hoops has learned over the years, and despite the fact that I have no children, when a situation involves your own child, people sometimes can become very irrational and emotional.

Can  we prevent these kinds of ugly occurrences from happening in basketball and, if so, how? Hockey Manitoba has suggested that they may make all parents take an on-line course, similar to the one many coaches have taken. It couldn't hurt, but I doubt if it would have much affect. How someone will answer in front of one's computer and how that same person would act in the crowd during an emotional game, could be very different.

Why can't some parents allow their children to play without interference and without getting involved in conflicts during some games? We sometimes hear horror stories about how some young and promising referees leave officiating because of abuse from fans and coaches.

The WMBA has a policy of "zero tolerance" as it relates to coaches and that seems to be a positive thing, even though it is unfortunate that such things have to be written. Hoops also believes that coaches should play a role in trying to influence the behaviour of fans. Many coaches have a pre-season meeting with parents and that probably would be a good opportunity to review a parents code of conduct. If there is a root of this problem it probably is that we don't discuss it in an open forum often enough. As with many things, we make assumptions that people already know this stuff instead of tackling it head on and making it clear to everyone that certain behaviours are unacceptable and detrimental to young children and sport in general, even if it involves your own son or daughter,.

I hope we can all agree that, in general, adult values are too often imposed on youth sports. Maybe our provincial governing body, Basketball Manitoba, needs to deal with this issue before we become like hockey.

I would be interested in hearing from you out there - comment below. Part 2 on this subject will be coming next week.

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