Too often the stories about youth sports that appear on the Internet, via news, blogs orFacebook, are about the "politics"of the leagues, bad coaches or bad parents. Stories about fathers assaulting coaches, coaches being too tough on kids, rants about unfair leagues and the "politics" of selecting teams litter the Internet. I understand negative stories are what piques people interests, makes good copy, and sells click-through ad space. I also understand that these stories are the rarity to youth sports.
Every now and then a great heart-warming story about youth sports will go viral, like this one or this one, but again, these stories are rare. These are the extraordinary, positive stories that make good press.
Both the negative stories and the positive stories are the outliers to what is normal in youth sports. I really shouldn't limit this to just sports though. The same could be said for schools, teachers, clubs, and other group activities. We, who absorb the content of the media and Internet, are only really exposed to the extreme stories. We never hear of or read the average stories. I know, I know, "average" does not make good print.
Currently, I am on my fourth stint as a coach in a youth sports league. I have to say that I have yet to see anything that fits into the extreme, good or bad, in any of my dealings. So far my experience has been average. Every practice or game I see average parents bring their average kids to an average team, to average coaches to play an average game. I watch as average volunteers take time out of their average days to work the average concession stand as other average parents rake and prepare average fields. I listen as average people cheer for average plays, as average coaches give average instructions.
When I stop to think about it I realize that it is the average that is truly exceptional. The average mom who makes sure her kid is at practice on time is doing an exceptional job. The average dad who cheers on another kid for making a play is setting an exceptional example. The average parent who offers rides to and from games for other kids is making exceptional sacrifices. The average parent who gets involved and stays involved, is building an exceptional foundation for their kid as well as others.
We remember to thank the coaches but we, or at least I, always forget to thank all the other exceptionally average people who make youth sports (or clubs) such an exceptional experience.
|Photo courtesy of an average parent doing exceptional things|
I think it starts with the kid's parents. Right now my kids are surrounded by a lot of average people and I think it is exceptional.