Sports Love & family

Learning Life's Lessons through Sports


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I Argued with an Umpire

By now you probably get that we advocate appropriate behavior at sporting events. Certainly arguing with an official is not something we advocate. But, we are guilty of doing it. It’s not one of our prouder moments, but we did it and then we learned from it. It’s a motto we’ve been telling our kids since they were babies. When you make a mistake, own up to it, learn from it, and move on from it. We talk about this a lot in our house and Todd and I walk the walk as best we can.

Todd will tell you that as a coach he will argue with an official, and he’s ok with that.

“I will argue over a rule infraction or player safety. It is important to stand up for your players. Other than that you’re just being confrontational and a bad example.” – Todd Deutsch

As a coach and a parent our goal is to keep our children safe. On this particular day the situation arose where there was a play at the plate. I don’t know about you, but I hold my breath at these moments. Our team was on defense, so it was their runner versus our catcher. When it came time for the runner to make a decision of sliding or continuing to run, he chose to jump over. Thankfully, no one was hurt, but it was scary to watch. Todd immediately ran to argue the play with the umpire. In his mind this was both a rule infraction and an issue with player safety. The baseball rule book states that “…jumping, hurdling and leaping are all legal attempts to avoid a fielder as long as the fielder is lying on the ground. -note: diving over fielders is illegal.”

Of course this particular umpire didn’t like that Todd was letting him know he didn’t know the rule. He proceeded to eject Todd from the game. My husband is non -confrontational and not a yeller. But, put a child in danger or break a rule, he’s all over it. He never got belligerent with the umpire, and in fact I was pretty proud of the way he handled it. Nonetheless, he was ejected…for the very first time in his 17 year coaching history. I proceeded to “discuss” the rule infraction and even showed the umpire the rule book. Again, he was not too happy to have someone point out that he didn’t know the rule, so he kicked me out too.

So, here we are. Both of us leaving the field area. One child on the field playing and the other two in the stands. After our anger subsided, embarrassment set in. Not from our behavior, but what it looked like to our kids. Our kids didn’t see us fighting for something we believed to be right, our kids saw their parents arguing and subsequently being told to leave. They were embarrassed.

We’re sharing this story with you to let you know we all make mistakes, we’re all human. But, it’s what we do after that mistake that defines who we are. This event was a turning point in our sport-parenting. This event was a catalyst to change. Make no mistake, I was in no way an obnoxious fan; but this did make me realize how I don’t want to be perceived by my children. They are the reason I’m at these sports events and they are the reason I’m now a more silent supporter.

7 Ways How Yelling at Officials is Hurting Children
http://play-by-the-rules.s3.amazonaws.com/Resources/R108_7-ways-how-yelling-at-officials-is-hurting-children.pdf

We’re all human and we make mistakes
https://www.theodysseyonline.com/parents-and-coaches-back-off-the-referees


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Staying Positive When There’s So Much Negative: Part III

This is probably the toughest one to write in the series. No one wants to see their child or another child being mistreated. It’s also hard to look back at a situation and see all the times you could’ve done or said something differently. I’m hopeful that this post will inspire someone, even if it’s just one person, to speak up in an awkward situation.

Here’s a little backstory. A few years ago we had a coach with the wrong goals in mind. You’re NOT a good coach when winning is more important than the physical and emotional welfare of your players. This person didn’t turn out to be what a coach should be, but I didn’t always feel that way. I thought they were knowledgeable and a nice person, and would be a good coach. All of this being said, I still had some concerns due to their intensity on the sideline. Note to self (and others) if there’s a parent on the sideline who is so intense you can’t stand sitting near them, don’t let them coach your kid! That intensity doesn’t go away, it only gets worse when given a position of power or authority.

At first things seemed fine. But, then we would stay at practice and witness the tone and words being spoken to the players. Certainly, not how I or Todd would deliver a message but it was only a little yelling and maybe some berating. It’s ok for kids to be exposed to that, right? Wrong, we were so wrong to let this go on. If it doesn’t feel right in your gut, do something about it. We didn’t. We thought handling the situation with our own child was the best way to handle it at the time. After each practice when our player was upset about what was yelled at them at practice or how they were treated, we discussed coping mechanisms. We discussed “the message” that was being yelled, not the delivery of the message. We thought having these conversations with our child was going to make them stronger and more adept at dealing with tough situations. We thought at the time we did what we were suppose to do and we thought we handled it well. We didn’t. Looking back at the situation we feel that having those discussions with our player were valid, but something more should’ve be done.

We let our feelings for this coach get in the way of our judgement for our child and other children. We justified situations that arose because we liked this person. I’ll be the first to admit, we were blinded by friendship and that betrayed our child. Let me be clear, I’m not advocating that if you don’t like a coach or you don’t like their coaching style that you should have them removed or that you should go to the governing body of that sport. What I’m talking about is abuse, mental or physical, either way, it’s unacceptable in the youth sports arena and should not be tolerated.

This situation was a turning point for me and my behavior. It made me step back and realize how I wanted my children to see me at their events. After living this situation I became a more silent supporter of my children. This is why I encouage you to take a look around at your kids next game. Evaluate other parents behaviors. It will make you see how you want to be. And, if a situation doesn’t feel right, say something. We teach this practice to our children, there’s no reason we shouldn’t do the same.

This is a good article with tips for dealing with a tough coach. We did some of things in here. All ok if the coach is not being abusive.

https://www.mentaltoughnesstrainer.com/bad-youth-sports-coaches/

This article is great if you’re struggling to know if you’re dealing with a bad coach. Our coach fell into these categories.

https://www.competitivedge.com/you-are-not-good-coach-when-you


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Staying Positive When There’s So Much Negative: Part II

Last post we discussed one of the little negative situations our children experience in sports. This time we’ll discuss one of the bigger things that’s a little harder to control…someone else’s actions. Whether it’s your child’s coach or parents in the stands, negativity is like a spider web, it spreads and everyone gets caught in it.

Trust me when I say, I’ve been here before and it’s a real bad road to detour down. I’m here to help you stay off that path. And believe me, it will only benefit you and your family to stay out of the web. It’s so hard, I know. But, do it…actually just don’t do it. Stay away, stay far away!

We talked last time about shutting down our kids conversations when they want to complain about teammates, or coaching or ref calling. We discussed how unproductive these conversations are. The same goes for parents on the sidelines. Youth sports have become a social activity for many. So, this means lots of gossiping and chitty chatty happening in the stands. Fine, discuss the who’s who of your town or what’s the best nail color to get, but don’t ever let these conversations become about what’s happening on the field|court. What I mean by that is, don’t bad mouth the coaching staff or any of the players. This is how it becomes a web and sadly, it only takes one negative person to get it going. If someone tries to engage in this type of conversation, shut it down. It’s so hard to do. If you just can’t do it, walk away, or re-direct the conversation. I’ve actually been in this situation and have gotten sucked in, and then after the game went to the car feeling horrible. We tell our children to stand up to bullies, yet, we ourselves have a hard time doing it.

So, that’s an easy solution for stopping the negativity in the stands, just squash it, don’t engage in it. It’s difficult to do, but give it a try for all involved.

But, what if the negativity is coming from the bench, meaning the coach. We’ll discuss that in Part III of this series. Read this article¬†from heysigmund.com. about toxic people and the affect it has on kids. In the meantime, check out this book that we loved. It really opened our eyes to the criticism we were putting on our kids and changed the way we talked to them after the game. And Cal Ripken is just an awesome guy!


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Staying Positive When There’s So Much Negative: Part I

This can mean so many things to so many people, but I’m referring to just sports. Even then it can mean so many things. I’ll touch on the things I know and that we’ve gone through as a family.

Let’s start small, your kid is on a losing team. If your kids are anything like mine, that’s difficult because they’re competitive and want to win. Here’s how we handle this situation (and by we, I really mean Todd, because he’s awesome at this!).

When your kid feels stuck on a losing team, lots of things can go the wrong way. Negativity seeps into your happy-go-lucky child. A child who once brushed off a loss begins to get angry with each subsequent loss. It is our job as parents to rein that in. We teach our kids it’s ok to be angry after a loss. But, we also talk to them about appropriate behavior. We tell our kids to be mad, take a few breaths and be over it. There’s no sense on dwelling about what you could’ve done, how the refs|umps should’ve called the game or what other teammates could’ve done. We squash these conversations very quickly. Nothing positive comes of them.

Instead, we steer the conversation in a more positive light. For instance, we give them personal goals to work on in the game. Why not teach them that there is something they can control…they’re own actions (life lesson). Todd talks to the kids about what they can work on in the game|practice and they come up with goals (new one each time). An example would be, “today I’m going to work on being a leader, going left to the basket rather than right, taking an outside pitch to the opposite field.” After the game we talk to them about whether they accomplished this goal and what to work on next. Goals can be mental or physical. The mental game is very important and probably should be worked on the most!

We believe and again, we’ve done research on this the mental game is so important. But, many parents don’t know or understand that they need to teach this to their children. If you wait until your child is in high school, it’s too late. They’ve already set bad habits, start now, while your kids are young. We’re always sharing motivational videos with our kids. Like, this one from Nate Trosky (Todd’s latest baseball hero). Check it out with your kids and let us know your thoughts.

What about bigger situations? For instance, your child has a negative coach or there are negative fans in attendance. We’ve experienced that too, and will write about it in Part II (coming next week).


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A Few of Our Favorite Things

When we started discussing topics for the blog I knew I wanted to include a post about all our favorite products we need to get us through each sport season. The list is ever evolving so we decided to make a tab on the blog instead so we can keep adding to it. The intention is to segment it by Mom, Dad and kids. Take a look here and of course let us know what your favorite products are!