Students in Angel Perez’s sixth through eighth grade combo class at Highland Charter Academy in Beaumont learned invaluable lessons about the role parents and adults play when they attend their children’s sporting events.
After spending 5 ½ hours discussing, watching videos and researching the topic as a class, the students individually created brochures defining their meaning of leadership.
Perez told the students that parents do not help the situation when they yell at coaches, referees or kids on the opposing team.
Emma Roark, 13, has been playing softball since she was 3 years old.
Emma said her parents, Laura and Rick, attend all of her games and are exemplary in their behavior.
She said her mom and dad do not yell or scream at the coaches or other kids, even if they disagree with a decision.
What also helps Emma is that her parents communicate with her about what happened during a game, she said.
“They’ll usually let me talk and they’ll say we can work through these things,” she said.
Her parents also give her tips on fielding and hitting, which helps her performance. Her father was a catcher, like she is, and her mother played on a softball team, too.
Emma said she has learned from her parents to stick up for herself and to not let the other players affect her performance.
Emma said one of the more important points she learned during research was that 70 percent of student athletes quit their sport by age 13.
Darrell Green Jr., 13, plays basketball. He has been playing the sport since he was 2.
Darrell said he has experienced the negativity on the court. “I’ve definitely had parents or the kids from the other team say I’m bad and I wasn’t good enough,” said Darrell.
Being criticized by parents or other teams does not get to Darrell.
“It makes me want to try harder so that I have something to prove,” he said.
Devin Ortiz, 11, plays football. His parents, Ryan and Jennifer, attend his games, too.
Devin said he does not let anything distract him from playing his best game.
“I just try not to think about it and make the next play,” Devin said.
Cameron Thompson, 13, plays on the same football team as Devin and also does cross country.
Cameron knows a thing or two about bullying.
When he was 6, he was showing signs of that negative behavior.
He realized what he was doing and told his mom, Jessica.
Cameron talked with his principal and they formed an anti-bullying program at Tournament Hills Elementary School.
He also said he was lucky that his mom and dad are positive and will tell him he is doing a good job.
Cameron’s coaches also will let him know when he has made a wrong play.
He also said that if parents have something to say, they should volunteer and then they can express their feelings during the game, said Cameron.
Devin said that parents and other adults need to pay attention to what they are doing. ”They don’t realize they are interfering with the game,” Devin said.
Darrell said that parents are their role models and their heroes. “I think people need to learn to be more supportive,” he said.
Other students also had some thoughts about parents and sporting events.
Ben Kiveros, 14, said it is so important for parents to
“If we do bad, don’t yell at us.” Ben said. Just help us.”
Perez outlined his feelings with several questions.
Are coaches teaching character through sports?
Perez wrote that many coaches are influenced by wins and money and are manipulating the rules, teaching illegal strategies and manipulate conditions.
Parents become coaches on the painful ride home.
Perez said that parents compare their children to professional athletes.
They are questioning their performance and making youth sports more competitive than fun for kids.
In Emma, Jolie and Lexi’s brochure, they included a statistic that said that major league players admitted that their parents were overbearing when they played youth sports.
They also advised parents about sportsmanship and said to congratulate the winners, even if it may not be their team.
Staff writer Julie Farren may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org , or by calling (951) 849-4586 x119.