Remember when your teacher in elementary school would tell everyone to keep their hands to themselves? That slogan needs to be a PSA for youth sporting events in America.
Youth sports have gotten out of control. It’s just too much and has become more about parents and coaches than children. Another youth basketball game made headlines this week for the wrong reasons.
A basketball game in Oklahoma got out of hand when one coach confronted a ref at mid-court. In the video clip, it looks like the ref makes the first move by pushing/punching the coach, then everything broke down from there. But why are we still talking about incidents like this at youth sporting events? This was happening in the 1990s, and nothing has been done to stop it.
These events are supposed to teach kids about winning and losing, sportsmanship, and discipline but have become nothing more than showcases for parents/coaches living out their dreams through children. It only gets worse by the year, and with our smartphones, you know anytime there’s a brawl at any game, cameras will be rolling.
Obviously, it’s not just the parents, as we see coaches acting even worse sometimes. So many refs have been assaulted over the years that, naturally, they’ve begun to fight back. It should never have gotten to this point.
In another video, a big fight erupted during an AAU basketball game in Kansas City. The referee got into an altercation with a coach, leading to him (the referee) getting jumped.
It’s surprising these youth leagues can even find people that want to officiate games anymore, given what we see on what feels like a regular basis now. It may not even be worse than it was 20 years ago. But now, it’s all captured in real-time on video and posted to social media for all to see. The number of incidents could be similar to the 90s, but no one was documenting everything at all times.
Each time there’s one of these incidents, we see it, talk about it, then it goes away until the next fight on the court or field. Sports are aggressive and competitive. But it shouldn’t be in a kicking someone’s ass kind of way. At least not in the literal sense. It’s one thing for players in the heat of battle at 15 years old to get into it, then refs break it up. But when you’ve got parents, coaches, and refs fighting each other, now that’s too much.
And the kids are even getting involved, fighting adults when their parents are jumping into the mix. Youth sports should be more tightly regulated, which would mean higher costs for everyone. Maybe security is the answer? If there’s no consequence for adults who choose to act like this, then it’s really tough to do much of anything. The lack of respect people show for others is amazingly troubling. None of this is good for anyone, especially the children. Adults are setting horrible examples which could have an impact on the mental health of these kids in some form.
AAU basketball has blown up so much since the late 90s that you can find a tournament just about anywhere in the country. Anyone can form a team, visit the AAU website, and sign up. It’s easily accessible; maybe a little too easy. Of course, there are coaches with lots of basketball experience ranging all the way to the professional level. Then there are coaches with little to no experience/knowledge that have no business coaching.
Hell, congress jumps into sporting affairs all the time. It’s time they stepped in here if they really want to do something beneficial. After all, AAU has become the pipeline for NBA talent. Pretty much every NBA on a roster today played AAU ball at some point. Even if it was only one tournament game.
The way youth sports, in general, are set up right now, I’m not sure what else can be done. You don’t want to restrict things to exclude people, but the rules are so lax that anyone can be involved. If these leagues and traveling teams enforced real punishment for coaches, refs, and parents fighting, that might help. But enforcing any penalties would probably become a problematic issue to keep up with.
Let’s try keeping our hands to ourselves, folks. Seems we need to take people back to elementary school.