Youth sport leagues in Colorado are offering simple advice for parents who can't seem to keep their emotions in check at ballgames: your kid probably isn't being scouted.
Time and again we hear about outspoken and angry parents at games heckling coaches, referees and even players. And leagues in the Centennial state are saying enough is enough.
Some are posting lists of what’s acceptable at venues. Others are posting lists of simple, and true facts, like “no, this is not the World Cup.”
On Saturday, the Real Colorado soccer league held its fourth annual “silent Saturday,” a day in which coaches were not allowed to coach players and parents were not allowed to do anything but cheer encouragingly.
“[Heckling] is a problem we've all tried to address in different ways,” said Jared Spires, chief operating officer of the league. “The coach doesn't feel pressured because he can't affect the outcome of the game-- their job was during the week. What you ultimately see is kids that are empowered to be both player and coach.”
Other leagues, like the Arapahoe Youth League, have taken similar measures. Before each season the league requires parents to sign code of conduct waivers. They also coach their referees on how to diffuse problem and even use game moderators to keep parents in check.
“By focusing on the community we have found a lot of success and a lot more positive outcomes,” said Craig Randall, president of AYL, which has also encouraged its players to hang out off the field so its benefits transpire on it. “It’s 100-percent about the bond and friendships. They mitigate this type of stuff.”
Both Real Colorado and Arapahoe Youth League say while outspoken parents have become more common they still only make up a very small percentage of parents in general.