Vermont Public Radio: an editorial on sports rage.
The National Alliance for Youth Sports this site has lots of information about curbing sports rage.
Center for the Study of Sports and Society Check out this site for a description of various anti-violence projects.
The Michael Costin fund Web site (Under construction as of 08/10/00)
It was a beautiful July afternoon. A group of boys were practicing hockey. What happened next is ugly.
When they should have been enjoying their time on the ice, three brothers watched as their father fought with the father of another hockey player in a hallway near the rink.
Two days later, doctors declared their father brain dead and took him off the ventilator that was keeping him alive.
Fighting Over Violence
the two fathers were fighting over the very fact that the practice
was getting too rough.
what hockey is all about, Costin reportedly replied.
Within minutes, the fathers fight spilled over into the hallway. The 275-pound Junta overpowered Costin who was 100 pounds lighter. With his knee on Costins chest, Junta allegedly punched Costin in the face repeatedly while his sons begged Junta to stop. Another adult broke up the fight, but it was too late.
If Junta is convicted for manslaughter, he could spend 20 years in jail.
How Could It Happen?
What could make a father angry enough to beat to death another parent in front of children?
The Costin tragedy is probably the nations first fatal instance of parental violence at a youth sporting event, but there's been a long chain of sports rage incidents.
A father knocked down and kicked a baseball coach when his son was not chosen for the all-star team last year.
arrested two soccer parents for disorderly conduct and assault after
they fought at a boys' under-12 tournament over Memorial Day weekend.
Rage Against Other Parents and Coaches
Youve heard the term road rage, describing violent, angry drivers. Some school psychologists say this country is experiencing an outbreak of sports rage"-- when parents of athletes lose control.
is usually aimed at the other teams parents or coach.
The behavior of parents of younger kids is worse than parents of high
school athletes, since high schools have more rules about conduct,
says Richard Palermo, Superintendent of the Lynnfield Public Schools.
Sometimes parents yell at their own children.
"Ive heard parents use derogatory remarks towards their kids. It is just amazing-- they dont remember that it's just a game. It is a major problem, Palermo says.
"It's sad to watch my friend beat herself up because of her father [who makes negative comments at games]," says Kerri Doherty, 17, a basketball, soccer, and field hockey player. "It shouldnt be getting that serious. It is supposed to be for fun.
Parents, coaches and psychologists agree that pressure and competition
in youth sports are increasing. Even 3-year-olds are playing in uniformed
Hyater says the demise of spontaneous neighborhood games is bad news. Instead of playing an informal game of touch football in the backyard, kids are suiting up and playing for an audience at younger and younger ages.
have the pressure to compete at an organized level and the psychology
changes," he says. "Kids today havent learned the
social aspects of playing.
Parents are also
affected when their kids are thrust into the spotlight too soon.
Couple this with
the fact that parents are naturally protective of their children.
Why So Violent?
America has always
been a competitive society, and people have long been driven by quests
for money and fame.
is less of a societal emphasis on teaching individuals to control
their emotions," says Hegedus.
like road rage or sports rage give the impression
that these actions are normal."
Sports be Agression-Free?
Many sports fans say fighting and hitting is part of some games, especially
They say the death was a rare tragedy.
One solution has
been to ban any sort of cheering, at
certain games, but not everyone thinks this is a good idea.
I think you should cheer and yell for your kids - and a little booing isnt such a terrible thing if it is a home field type of situation," Hyater says. "But when you start to curse, swear, lose control, as an adult, I think thats where the line is crossed."
So What's to be Done?
is the implementation of signed oaths
No one wants to see another person killed over youth sports.
What do you think? Maybe your community has considered introducing parental sportsmanship oaths. Do you think introducing oaths will help prevent tragedies?
by Heather H. Hegedus.
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