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Buffalo Grove Park District Signs Remind Adults 'It Is Just a Game'

Signs like this one are being installed at Buffalo Grove Park District athletic fields.
Signs like this one are being installed at Buffalo Grove Park District athletic fields.
The Buffalo Grove Park District wants adults to remember that children’s athletic games are just that — games.  

And for those who might forget, new signs posted near the park district’s athletic fields will serve as a permanent reminder that recreational games should be “about having fun and being pressure-free.”  

“The only reason children want to play sports is because it is fun. Please don’t let the behavior of the adults ruin their fun,” the notices conclude.  

“I didn’t realize how prevalent this problem was until my son played soccer, and then I eventually became a volunteer coach. After having conversations with other parents, I learned that many people shared my concern that we, the adults, are creating a less than desirable environment during youth sports games,” said Mike Terson, Buffalo Grove Park District public relations and marketing manager.  

The signs are intended to give people something to think about, rather than list a set of rules that often get ignored, the park district said in a statement.  

“We thought that if we put it in a way that people could relate to, as well as infuse a little humor, that the message would resonate and people might be more likely to comply, and hopefully for some, change how they look at youth sports altogether,” Terson said.  

“I think it’s important to point out that most parents are excellent fans and they understand that it is just a game being played by children who just want to have fun. I applaud those parents and thank them for their excellent sportsmanship,” Ryan Risinger, director of recreation and facilities said. “The intention of the sign is not to downplay the importance of sport or activity. The sign’s intention is to be a bit of a self check for the adults, something to make parents stop and think, and hopefully realize what is important about the game that is going on in front of them, and that children are outside enjoying a sport, playing with friends, having fun, and learning new skills. For most kids, the final score is irrelevant. Once the handshakes are over, their concern turns to what the post game treats are that week. Sometimes, we, the adults, need to be reminded as to what truly is important, and that it is just a game.”  

Youth sports games in Buffalo Grove include a variety of travel sports.  

“While we hope to make a significant impact within our own community, we also want to affect change in the behavior of people who come to Buffalo Grove for an away game. We hope visitors to our community will remember what they read on the sign long after they leave Buffalo Grove, and that this has an affect on people’s behavior throughout the region,” Terson said.  

In addition to the children that participate in youth sports deserving an environment that is free of inappropriate behavior, game officials are often the target of comments as well. The signs address the issue of arguing calls and abusing officials.  

“Game officials are either adults who love the sport and want to do what they can to help children learn and enjoy the game that they love; or, they are young people themselves who are still developing as a referee or umpire. Players make errors and so do officials. No official ever intentionally makes a bad call; therefore, it is never appropriate to yell at an official because one doesn’t like the call he or she made,” said Buffalo Grove Park District Executive Director Dan Schimmel.  

Terson added, “Kids are competitive and they want to win. They don’t need us putting added pressure on them or creating a hostile environment. We teach by example and, no matter what we say, if our actions indicate that this kind of behavior is acceptable and appropriate, that is what we are ultimately teaching our children. Eventually, that is the kind of coach or spectator they will likely become when they are an adult.”

Do you think adults behave inappropriately at youth athletic games? Will these signs make a difference? Share your thoughts with us in the comment section below.
Penny Novy May 31, 2013 at 05:43 PM
This makes a lot of sense, but what makes the village think that the parents will read this sign?
Dana September 10, 2013 at 12:32 PM
And to think these are wealthy people with more than they need in life. They all have education.The sad part is these are the type of people that make rules for someone like me.

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