Playing sports is crucial and essential to a child's development. A child develops a sense of social awareness and self-confidence whenever he engages in a sport. Of course, this would not be possible if a child's parents will not encourage them in engage in a particular sport.
Parents play a significant role in a child's involvement in whatever sport he chooses. A child's sense of sportsmanship is augmented by his parents as well. Parents are always considered to be perfect examples to their children. However, the positive effects of parents on their children are hampered by some instances, which parents themselves exude a plethora of negative behavior during sports events.
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With this in mind, we are compelled to place the behavior of parents in keen scrutiny. It is alarming that the proliferation of juvenile delinquency can be associated on parents' behavior as well. This is due to the fact that children are developing their cognitive skills at this stage of their lives.
There is a great possibility that whenever a child develops and imitates the behavior of his parents; there is a possibility that the child's behavior could be worse than his parents by the time he enters adulthood. Another factor that calls for attention is that the improper behavior of some parents is seen not only by the child, but some spectators as well. A child might assume that such behavior is tolerable in public (Ocampo. 2008).
Parents are not only the ones to be accounted for misbehavior in sports events. A child's coach, referee, and other people who are involved in a game can affect a child's behavior during these sports events. Whenever a child engages in a particular sport, his sense of competitiveness is heightened as well.
However, children sometimes confuse competitiveness with aggressiveness. This is due to the fact that the inappropriate behavior of parents during sports events has an impact on a child's competitiveness. This, of course, gives child a negative sense of competitiveness. Parents are always at the forefront of each game their child engages in. They are always present during games in order to give their children moral support and boost their self-confidence.
Yet sometimes some parents exhibit crass and extreme behavior, which make it seem that they are the ones playing the sport. For instance, spectators claimed that a parent tripped a player from the opposing team during a game, because that player was about to tackle and spear his son. Whenever this happens, parents are deduced into sports fanatics as well.
This is a simple example of what sports events can do to behaviors of parents. Parents act in such way due to the speculation that they want their children to excel in that sport where they have failed to do so. Parents may ignore the fact that even though they support their children in such manner, the behavior they exhibit have a consequent effect on the cognitive and social development of their children (Ocampo. 2008).
Parental Violence in Sports: Promoting Juvenile Delinquency?
The near fatal Junta-Costin youth hockey scrimmage in July of 2000 is considered the linchpin of sports violence in youth sports events (Heinzmann.2002). It ignited the issue of sports rage, which saw a myriad of newspapers all over the world documenting the story; and proliferating numerous editorials that placed parental involvement in a child's sports career under keen scrutiny.
At first, it seemed that it was a mere isolated case. Eventually, experts have started debates regarding sports rage in sports events. It has been declared that there is an impending yet subliminal crisis in youth sports. Subliminal because most people don't perceive such as a crucial matter in children's behavior.
Subliminal because people might not see its correlation to the increasing rate of juvenile delinquency.
In a youth hockey game in Illinois, a father pummeled another player's dad during a heated argument at their son's youth hockey game. What's worse is, that father's son pleaded guilty for a misdemeanor charge for beating up an opposing player, which resulted in a paralyzing injury. Obviously, the repercussion of crass and violent behavior of parents are reaping its sour fruits.
Children are deliberately affected by the obscene behavior of their parents. Yet parents seem not to be alarmed by such matter. Youth sports officials claimed that the mere yelling of parents at referees and coaches are enough to increase a child's improper sense of aggressiveness. Obviously, parents are sacrificing the virtue of sportsmanship for a twisted sense of competitiveness that they instill in their children (Ocampo.2008).
Even though there are no feasible statistics on parental violence and assault, adamant coaches and overaggressive parents are the ones promoting and instilling a twisted sense of aggressiveness and competitiveness among their children (Ocampo.2008). Fred Engh, president of the National Alliance for Youth Sports exclaimed that:
There has been a tremendous upsurge in violence in the last five years, I've been hearing of more and more violent incidents. We’re beginning to see the trickle-down effect from adults’ misbehavior … where children that are involved are becoming part of the bad behavior. Far too often, we tell kids it’s ok to cheat in order to win, to taunt the players on the other team, to criticize officials. (Engh. 2000).
The Illinois misdemeanor battery case has generated a maximum penalty of one year imprisonment. State prosecutors have dropped two counts of felony aggravated battery (James.2000). The boy has yet to be convicted in juvenile facility until he is 21 (James.2000).
The juvenile acknowledged that he used the hockey stick to drag opposition player Neal Goss, causing Goss to hit the boards seconds after the buzzer sounded during a junior varsity game. The unidentified youth declared this in his plea agreement. After slamming into the fiber glass boards, Goss was deliberately paralyzed below his waist and injured his arms as well (James.2000).
A bevy of head-butting and elbow-throwing melees have been rampant across the country. The Illinois incident is simply an example of the increasing rate of sports rage. Youth sports officials have claimed that coaches and parents are responsible for the ramifications in youth sports. Unfortunately, children are deliberately affected in this massive sports violence proliferation.
Bob Still, public relations manager for the National Association of Sports Officials emphasized that: “Not only has the language gone more in the gutter, but we’ve also seen a rise in the number of incidences reported where physical violence has occurred.” (Still.2000).
In 1975, one of the first cases of sports rage, it was reported by Sports Illustrated in the article “Taking the Fun Out of the Game” that a fight ignited between a mob of adult spectators and a group of coaches that coached championship team of sixth graders during a game in Kissimmee, Florida.
The sports rage incident resulted with one coach being rushed to the hospital. Someone was yelling that one coach was dead already; causing the mob to depart the scene just before police authorities arrived. The coach was actually unconscious for a couple of hours before being taken to a nearby hospital. In Miami, a player's father pummeled his son's coach for arguing over his son's playing time.
These incidents were obscure due to the fact that such incidents weren't able to be published or televised. The public was not aware of news like “Youth Sports Coaches pummeled by Furious Mob”. A series of rage events not associated with youth sports events were simply dismissed as a weak form of sociological trend (Heinzmann.2002).
In order to place the growing cases of youth sports rage in further scrutiny, the Rutgers Youth Sports Research Council launched a computer search engine, which enables people to learn about youth sports violence incidents through the database of more than 5,000 related articles concerning sports rage in youth sports events (Heinzmann.2002)...
However, several articles suggest faux pas facts, which limited the public's knowledge concerning youth sports violence. The most crucial fact is that keen investigation has not succeeded in generating substantial data that sports rage in youth sports has increased in alarming rates. In order to comprehend and augment the understanding of the public of youth sports violence without any scientific data at hand, people can be made aware through the myriad of various sociology researches.
This would augment our knowledge on how the media could have a discreet influence on general opinion regarding youth sports rage. Youth homicide has experienced a decline from 1993 to 1999. The Justice Policy Institute reported that there was a 68% decline in youth homicide in the United States, which was the lowest rate since 1966 (Heinzmann.2002).
Campus-related violent death decreased as well by 72%. However, network homicide coverage increased into a surprising 473% even though there was 33% decline in murders from 1990 to 1998. Evening news was reporting more than 25% of crimes were homicide cases (Heinzmann.2002).
Justice Policy Institute pundits have declared that 62% believe that youth-related crimes are increasing upon conducting a survey. Americans saw it grew into epic proportions during random school shootings in 2000 (Heinzmann.2002)
Eliminating Sports Violence: Beyond Feasible Statistics?
Each sports event whether on the youth or professional level is experiencing a bevy of harassments on a daily basis. That is why security is assured in such events. Police and medical assistance are present in these events due to the fact that there is a possibility of heightened violence. Parents and adults are always at the forefront during these sports rage incidents (NASO, 2008).
Annually, NASO has been receiving hundreds of reports, in which sports rage occurs among fans, officials, coaches, and players (NASO, 2008). Before NASO proposed a clamor for a bill proposal on youth sports violence, they defined sports rage as any physical attack upon a person during a sports events such as hitting, wounding, and other forms of harmful contact in an offensive manner, verbal abuse, and obscene harassments, which threatens an individual's safety during a sports event.
After a pact has made to settle on the standard definition of “sports rage”, Investigators have began to observe and analyze the probable evidence that in order to link parents to such youth violence, investigators have to substantiate the faux pas norm that 15% of parents during these youth sporting events go below the belt and resort to deliberate violence.
However, it was only 5% in the previous five years, yet conclusive feasible scientific evidence has yet to surface (Heinzmann.2002). However, according to NASO, published studies regarding sports rage incidents have yet to be seen; and that instances made by the media are anecdotal in nature and does not have feasible evidence. With this in mind, substantial facts contradict what is reported to the public (Heinzmann.2002).
In a recent study by the NASO, it was stated that the prevalence and proliferation of crass behavior and assaults on youth sports officials occurs not only at youth sports games, but in the professional level as well (Heinzmann.2002).
The study was aimed at urging state legislatures to provide apt laws that will penalize individuals who exhibit any form of obscene behavior during sports events (Heinzmann.2002). It primary purpose though was to educate and promote public awareness regarding manic behavior during these sports events (Heinzmann.2002).
This generated the notion that scientific findings have yet to augment that sports rage is the primary deterrent during youth sports games. Even youth violence experts have acknowledged the fact that there is heightened rate of violence during youth sports events. Ironically, adults and parents are always the ones who instigate such obscene behavior.
However, impartial statistics have yet to surface in order to prove that youth sports violence has increased; and that there is a great possibility that this trend has become more violent as cases begin to increase. Dan Macallair, Vice President of the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice, have urged a movement that will make alternative ways aside from imprisonment.
Contrary to the media hype that has heightened the awareness of sports rage, Macallair's agency has shown that statistics of school violence in the United States are lower than anticipated. Furthermore, juvenile delinquency rates have experienced a huge letdown in previous years.
Macallair even suggested that the increasing youth violence should be associated with modern day technology such as video games, which promote violence as well. Macallair exclaimed that:
We really don’t know because we don’t have the evidence. My guess is that it’s probably less than we think. … My gut is that it’s being reported more frequently and more widely just because of modern-day media practices and media technology.
Too often, the evidence does not support the perception. You see that all the time — that kids today are worse than they were 10 or 20 years ago. And then you go back and see that people were saying that about kids then. People have very short memories. However, we really don't know because we don't have the evidence. My guess is that it's probably less than we think. . .
My gut is that it's being reported more frequently and more widely just because of modern-day media practices and media technology. (Macallair. 2001).
Some experts have acknowledged the notion that the media has made a deliberate impact on the increasing rate of youth sports rage. Frank Smoll, author of Sports and Your Child, notes that the family is the primary culprit in irrational aggressive behavior of child during sports games; yet coaches, professional athletes, and the media is also to blame for youth sports violence. Smoll exclaims that:
I’m surprised there isn’t more violence in youth sports given the current underlying phenomena that feeds this violence system, particularly in hockey.
During the hockey season, the sportscasts … are going to show the fight of the night. That’s sick, flat out, he adds. Is it any wonder kids are going to see that and say, Hey, I’m going to be a better fighter, I’ve got instruction? (Smoll. 2000)
National Alliance for Youth Sports president Fred Engh says that a child imitates what he perceives to be “good”. Good examples imply to their favorite professional athletes like wrestlers or MMA fighters. He complements Smoll's statement by implying that: “They’re seeing that kind of behavior on television.
Look at the World Wrestling Federation. Look at the Jerry Springer Show. This is the mentality of a growing number of dysfunctional people that is creeping into youth sports.” (Engh.2000).
Obviously, the sports entertainment industry must take initiative in taking the obligation for contributing to societal norms, which affect children and adults like. Talk shows have proliferated public display of violence as well. Ironically, such programs have a strong following by creating manic debates, which eventually turns into melee when things get out of hand.
Studio audience is involved as well by castigating guests. Things get out of hand when altercations emerge during the show. Shows which are televised when children can watch such deliberate show of public violence; Take for instance the Jerry Springer Show, which gives people the opportunity to castigate people who did them wrong. It gives people the notion that what cannot be settled in a verbal manner can be settled with deliberate violence.
But it is proper to do such in public? This suggests that the media is a purveyor of violence and irrational sense of competitiveness as well. Children can adhere to such when they go out to public affairs such as youth sports events. And by the time they are adults, they would do the same and even exhibit more obscene behavior during youth sports events (Ocampo.2008).
Organized youth sports have been receiving media hype over the years. The issue of youth sports rage has been a crucial matter for the media to give it unprecedented attention. Incidents involving parents, coaches, and game officials have contributed to such by instigating fights and crass behavior during youth sports events.
Although it is purely anecdotal that such matter is getting out of hand and is on the brink of enormous escalation, sports rage incidents are proliferating, and has been one of the primary purveyors of juvenile delinquency and youth violence. Such matter is beyond statistics, and the obvious is larger than the scientific studies conducted regarding youth sports rage incidents.
With this in mind, youth sports organizers should be at the forefront of every altercation during a youth sports event. They must implement proper measures of security in order to imply peace and order during games. On the other hand, parents should exhibit proper etiquette during youth sports events.
Parents should be the ones who must moderate the various societal factors, which contribute to their child's sense of competitiveness. They must be reminded that during these games, they are not fans but parents who should guide their children. Parents should always bear in mind the youth sports games have a deliberate cognitive and social effect on their children's mentalities.
They should be perfect examples during these events, and must instill positive and favorable values that a sport will complement their children's well-being (Ocampo.2008).
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