Here's something us Americans, living in the "best" country of the world, can be really proud about. A recent Reuters/Ipsos poll of 23,000 adults in 22 countries concluded that we are rudest of all spectators at kids' athletic events.
Some 60% of U.S. residents are likely to see a parent being verbally or even physically abusive towards a coach, referee or other official at their kids' sporting event.
What bothers me most about this is the reality kids learn so much more from what their parents "do" than what they say. Many of the same abusive parents no doubt lecture their kids about "good sportsmanship."
When I was at at the Big 12 Football Championship game last fall, a girl approximately 12 years old standing right behind me let out a piercing, high-pitch scream at the beginning of each and every play on the field. I wouldn't have cared so much but for the fact this really started to seriously hurt my ears.
During the third quarter I decided I just could take it anymore--I turned around and politely asked her not to be so loud. She was very sweet, nodded at me and things got immediately better for a few moments until I felt someone tapping my shoulder.
That someone tapping my shoulder was her father. He shook his finger at me and said, "How dare you tell my daughter to quite yelling. We are from Texas and we are going to yell as loud as we can as often as we want."
For the rest of the game, the father and the daughter BOTH screamed their lungs out. It was discouraging, my ears were ringing, and I wonder what lesson the young lady learned from this.
The YouTube video embedded in this article is a fantastic example of what we are teaching our kids with our own poor sportsmanship.