A Look At How Our Children View Us, News (Cambridge Minor Lacrosse)

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A Look At How Our Children View Us
Submitted By Admin on Wednesday, June 24, 2015
We at CMLA believe that this is the most well written expression of something we are all strong believers in within the CMLA family. This was sent to us from a Novice parent and they have given us permission to share so we can all re-think and reflect upon our actions as spectators of the sport we love.

On Tuesday evening we had the opportunity to watch our Novice 2 Team's game with our son who was too sick to play but wanted to come out and support his team. It was an interesting experience as it let us see through his eyes how we, the Novice fans, behave. He was surprised by the intensity of our fans and also by the shouting at the players and referees. We asked if he thought we were doing a good job of supporting and encouraging the kids and he responded no and that he did not enjoy being in the stands. He thinks we as a group are a bit out of control. Hearing his reaction really made us stop and think about our own behaviour and helped us put some things in perspective.

We as parents / fans are all passionate and excited watching our kids play and for the most part do a great job of encouraging them with positive words. Unfortunately we also do seem to spend a lot of time and energy during the games criticizing the referees and their calls. While the criticism may be justified at times, shouting it out does not contribute anything of value to the game. We as fans typically see only the calls that go against us and fail to see that the poor refereeing usually results in bad calls for and against both teams. The occasional frustrated outburst when a dangerous or flagrant infraction is missed is to be expected but we seem to be constantly complaining even when it is obvious that one of our kids deserves a penalty.

Last night's refs included a boy that goes to school with our oldest son. He is 13 or 14 ( gr 8) and it is his first year refereeing. The other ref may have had more experience but he also looked quite young. Our understanding is that the ideal situation of pairing an older, more experienced ref with a younger, less experienced one is no longer possible because there are so few older refs. We as fans are only going to make the situation worse if we keep taking our frustrations out on the refs. They will soon decide that their little pay cheque is not worth the abuse from the fans. Maybe it is time we accept that the referee situation is not ideal but the refs are doing the best they can with their limited experience.

Last night it suddenly occurred to us that there was a floor full of 9 and 10 year olds, a 14 yr old ref and a 15yr old ref being yelled at by many frustrated and angry adults. We are meant to be the ones setting the example of how to behave. Even if the brunt of our criticism is directed at the refs, how does that negativity impact the players ? Does that negativity help them in any way ? Does that negativity impact the refereeing in a positive way ? Do we want our kids blaming their losses on the refs ? Or are we better off helping them learn to accept that there will be some calls that work against them and some that work for them so they can focus on controlling what they can...how they play ? Good sportsmanship is about winning and losing with grace. Part of that is taking responsibility for one's own behaviour whether you are a player or a fan. Is it important to us that our kids be good sports ? Are we setting that example with our behaviour ? We are not saying we have all the answers but rather that it is important to stop and ask ourselves the questions.
There are so many valuable lessons that kids learn by playing sports. It's never too late for us as adults to learn some as well. We learned a lesson on Tuesday night thanks to our smart kid !
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