The Crucial Lesson Sports Parents Must Learn From Covid
Trying to find a diamond in the rough these days is like looking for a raisin in this gigantic pile of pandemic poop.
It ain’t easy.
That’s how it feels to write about Covid and youth sports. Many athletes lost their seasons, some their chance to play in college, and many lost loved ones. So to talk about a positive around youth sports feels, well, a little uncomfortable.
But this one is so important that I’m going there.
I know that in the beginning, most of us agreed that it was a unique situation to have our kids slow down, not so many jam-packed weekends, and more family time. But for many, that tired pretty quickly as kids and parents started to miss – need really – those comfortable patterns of our busy lives and our social network of teammates, friends, classmates, and co-workers.
And as many have started to go back to playing sports, the parents have not been allowed to watch. What’s occurred on gym floors, fields, and pools across America has been nothing short of a phenomenon. It’s like kids all around the world have been able to do one huge collective yoga breath exhale.
I overheard two teenage athletes saying how “happy and less stressed” they’ve been, not having to hear all the yelling, screaming, and yes, cheering too – by the parents. And that the quiet of the courts has been such a welcome change for them. Um, can someone say AHA moment?
Think about that, parents. We, us, the parents, who have given so much to help our kids, and this is the thanks we get. Yes. It most definitely is. We have taken youth sports importance level to such an extreme that it has become all about us, oftentimes forgetting the true value of sport and, more importantly, ignoring how it negatively affects our kids.
Finally, they got a chance to feel, hear and learn what it’s like to play just for them, for their teammates, for their coach.
NOT for us.
Maybe you are a great sports parent, quiet and supportive. But that doesn’t mean the Dad next to you isn’t screaming his head off, or a parent on the other team isn’t berating the referee and coaches. And if you still doubt that this is good for them, please watch this video. It’s kids talking candidly about their parents watching their games. It’s our most shared post on ILTWYP and for good reason.
It took a pandemic to teach us this lesson. Covid forced our hand at finding alternative ways to watch our kids. And guess what, they worked. Parents can watch from home where they can be free to yell without doing any harm. Maybe some of us should continue to watch this way, self-regulate by staying home. I know if you’re like me, you can’t wait to get back to the fields and courts to watch our kids play and to see our old friends we’ve missed on the sidelines. So if and when this does occur, at the very least, please let’s remember what Covid taught us. We are not a part of the game, nor should we ever be (the science behind NOT yelling).
Our kids shouldn’t have to worry and think about their parents or teammates’ parents screaming and filling a gym with more anxiety than they already feel. Let’s sit back, let them play, and be there waiting with a smile and a hug when it’s over.