The following reader submitted article was being placed across multiple threads - in order to condense the discussion into a central location, BOTC has replayed the article content in this new discussion topic.
Taken from a Lancaster newspaper.
As the lacrosse season approaches I unfortunately turn my thoughts to the parents of these athletes. Itís not a lot of them, not even the majority, but a very small vocal minority that seem to ruin this wonderful sport each year.
Iíve come to the conclusion that this epidemic may ruin this game. Iíve also concluded that these acts from fully functioning adults are for a few reasons. The first is because they are living vicariously through their children and are helicopter parents (always hovering). Secondly they feel entitled (a word that will be brought up often) because they spent x-amount of money on their kidís sport. Third, they think their child is better than they actually are. Finally, because itís an affluent sport and they have some money, or a few letters (MD, PHD) at the end of their names, and think they can dictate playing time, press coverage, etc. because theyíre in a profession where they do it 24/7.
In the five years that I have covered this sport I have witnessed a laundry list of actions by parents.
There have been, by my count, four coaches that have been run out by parents. All of these coaches had won MULTIPLE league titles. Thereís a coach now thatís been on a parentís hit list for two years. This parent went as far as to go to the school board and ask for this coach to be removed. Luckily the AD at that school took a stand and stood up for his coach. The aforementioned coaches didnít have that administrative support.
Because this sport is becoming more popular and seeing its athletes succeed beyond high school more unrealistic expectations occur. Some parents seem to think that because John Smith at this school received a scholarship that their precious perfect child will too. Or because a certain school has a number of Division I players and they believe their child is just as good. THEYíRE NOT. Itís not easy to get a lacrosse scholarship and no lacrosse scholarship is a full ride. If you got your child into this sport to get a scholarship, or have their name in the newspaper, than theyíre playing for the wrong reason.
I was told by a well-respected coach, in another sport that has similar problems, that winning and players succeeding is a problem and hereís why: Coaches understand god-given ability and realistic expectations and parents donít. Thatís the difference and thatís a problem. Point being: When you win, players succeed. With success come unrealistic expectations from some parents. Thatís where the problem begins. 10 years ago this wasnít an issue because the sport was in its infancy stage. Everyone just wanted to play for fun. Where did that go?
I have received too many emails to count on how my coverage of the sport is unfair and biased. Iíve received emails calling me names, emails calling for my job and emails saying Iím bad at my job. The writers of those emails are obviously hypocritical because theyíre writing because they feel their child has been slighted. They have tunnel vision. They have a horse in the race. I donít. Whoís objective in all of this? The reporter.
I understand that parents want the best for children. I really do. But there are ways to do that other than making everyone elseís life miserable. If most of these players knew how their parents were acting theyíd be embarrassed.
A teenager gains nothing if theyíre playing because of their parents pull. They gain more if they earned it. In fact, they gain even more if they donít start. Life is that way. Itís unfair at times. It doesnít always reward hard work. It doesnít entitle anyone to anything. You donít always get what you want. To forcefully keep your kids from experiencing this early in their lives will almost certainly handicap them in the real world where, more often than not, it doesnít matter who your parents are.
Unfortunately this isnít reserved for only lacrosse. Itís a disease spreading to every sport in high school. At a time when scholastic sports are on life support parents should be joining with coaches and the administration and be on the same team. Many arenít. Thatís sad. Itís pathetic. It needs to end.
Again, I donít believe this is all parents. Itís a minority of them but a very vocal minority. I appreciate most of the parents. I understand the time and financial sacrifices you make and I enjoy speaking with most parents throughout the season.
Those that read this and nod their heads understand the problem. Those that read this and shake their heads ARE the problem.