Summer baseball is about the

Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 6, 2000

kids; that’s worth remembering

The Troy Parks and Recreation Department is taking a positive step toward preventing flare-ups that are bound to result from emotionally-charged baseball games during this summer’s rec league season – it is asking parents to behave themselves on the front end.

Realizing the merit of an idea used in Florida, Park and Rec Director Dan Smith decided to take steps before he had to resort to a Florida technique of making parents sign behavior contracts prior to the season.

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Understanding the willingness of most members of the community to cooperate on the front end, Smith and officials who will be responsible for the seamless facilitation of a season of baseball games haven’t resorted to contracts. They believe they can continue to see to managing a season that includes hundreds of kids, oodles of coaches and umpires and several hundred parents, without the behavior problems many rec leagues experience.

The philosophy is simple: Bad behavior – especially among adults – will not be tolerated.


Smith has a simple philosophy about this. If parents as role models behave poorly then it’s only a matter of time before the kids start behaving poorly. Add to this the fact that the season is meant for fun and recreation, and it’s not tough to see why Smith and other league officials are insisting on positive, tolerant behavior.

Children play summer baseball for many reasons. But ultimately all those reasons involve fun. Baseball offers kids a chance to spend time with friends and enjoy being part of a team, and to escape into a world dominated by their professional heroes. Many like the competitive spirit of the game, and some simply like being part of the atmosphere.

All of that comes crashing down when a child hears his or her parent screaming belligerently at an umpire during a game, or sees a parent deliver a tongue lashing to a coach for not letting their child play.

Children are smart and they pick up on these cues from parents about what really matters – and most of the arguments stem from an insistence on winning and an intolerance for losing. That is not what summer sports is all about.

Summer sports is about the kids, about learning to get together with family in a healthy atmosphere and about having the companionship of peers.

Parents who behave badly send the wrong message and it is only fair that messages like those be muted out. Coaches, league officials and other kids can’t raise a child for a parent, but they can insist that corrupt views of life and competition not be passed along to other children.

It has not been necessary for the good people of Pike County to sign contracts and hopefully it never will be. Any problems in the past have been mild because of our community’s understanding of the acceptability of behavior and its insistence on proper etiquette.

We appreciate all the parents who understand this and we commend Smith for passing along a friendly reminder to those who may have been inclined to forget. After all, it’s all about the kids, not the parents, and though opinions will vary throughout the season about a number of things, it is important to always keep this in perspective.

April 5, 2000 10 PM  

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