Buffalo Grove Park District wants adults to remember that children’s athletic games are just that — games.The
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
“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
“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.