It's time parents showed
July 25, 2009
I LEARNED the hard way. It cost me my job as Test coach.
Don't let it be you.
When I picked up the paper this week and read about the
latest episode of ugly sporting parents, it made me feel upset and
Upset because I know I've been guilty of bad behaviour
towards match officials in the past. And angry because I've seen parents
at sporting events behave terribly.
Last November I stood down from my job as Kangaroos
coach because of my disrespectful behaviour towards World Cup match
officials Ashley Klein and Stuart
At the time some people were advising me not to quit.
They said in time it would all blow over. But I made the call for two
Firstly, if a player of mine had behaved the same way I
would have stood him down. And secondly, how could I ever turn up to my
son's junior league game on Saturday mornings and feel I had any right to
tell an over-zealous parent to cool it if the occasion ever
And don't worry, it
It makes me sick in the stomach to see parents living
their lives through a child's dreams. I've been at games where parents
have screamed 'bash him' or 'punch him in the
I remember it happening at an under 11's
It's not just in rugby league. I've seen it at junior
soccer matches, rugby union and AFL matches too. I've heard of an
incident where a parent waved money in the face of junior soccer ref,
trying to bribe him. Can you believe
Last week a man allegedly got bashed trying to separate
I wonder how much of this bad behaviour stems from the
fact we put too much pressure on these
I am bewildered why we have to grade under 7s to
Let them play with their mates. Who cares if they're an
'A' or 'B' player?
Grading shouldn't exist until under
Our constant need to measure little Johnny against
little Jimmy only fuels tension. I've watched coaches at under 8s and 9s
Hit-ups, tackles, kicks ... it's
How can they possibly enjoy playing with their mates
when it's all about winning? Coaches often ask me how their junior team
is going after I've watched their training session or a
always reply; "How many players have you lost this season?'' If it's
hardly any, then that coach is having a good year because his players are
In my position, I could argue my view of the game is
different. It's my livelihood, it's my career. I'm in a results driven
Things can get heated when there is so much pressure on
the line and livelihoods are at stake.
But we have to put things into context here. Junior
sport should be about enjoyment. Fullstop.
hope we never get to the stage where junior players are banned for their
parents' bad behaviour. It's not the little kids who have to change. It's